Electoral Commission rubbishes Billy Te Kahika's claims Advance NZ a victim of 'rigged election', 'disqualified votes'

The Electoral Commission has issued a blunt response to Billy Te Kahika Jr after the Advance NZ co-leader claimed the election was "rigged", and that his party's 0.9 percent share of the vote showed it had been "diddled".

Advance NZ had a horror night on Saturday, registering just 20,841 votes and failing to get a single candidate into Parliament. The result ensures the party he leads alongside Jami-Lee Ross will have no influence in New Zealand's halls of power over the next three years.

On Sunday, Te Kahika Jr posted an outlandish 14-minute selfie video to his public Facebook page, rattling off a series of dubious explanations for their poor election showing.

"I'm all okay with not going into Parliament and not winning enough votes - but not [okay] with 1 percent. I've been saying all week that if they turn around and say we've only got 1 percent then we've been diddled," he said.

"People are waking up very, very quickly to the idea that this Government and this whole system is corrupt - it's not real."

Later in the video, Te Kahika Jr urged followers not to give up on the party's principles just because Advance NZ had lost a "rigged election".

In one particularly bizarre segment, he said he feared many Advance NZ votes had not been counted because some had left "little comments or smiley faces" on their voting forms.

He also said he was "very worried" that 200,000 votes had supposedly been disqualified or failed to be counted.

The only problem? The Electoral Commission has no idea what he's talking about.

"If a voter has written a comment or drawn a smiley face, it will not disqualify the vote. Votes will be counted if the voter's intentions are clear," a spokesperson said.

They also told Newshub they didn't know where Te Kahika Jr had got his 200,000-vote figure from, describing it simply as "incorrect".

"New Zealand has a robust and transparent electoral system with many checks and balances. The process for counting votes is thorough and careful," the spokesperson continued. 

"It is subject to independent scrutiny from candidate and party scrutineers, Justices of the Peace, and the judiciary if there are recounts or electoral petitions.

"The results released on election night are a count of the ordinary votes cast in advance and on election day. The official results, which will be released on November 6, will also include special declaration votes."

Te Kahika Jr, a blues musician, very quickly gathered a thousands-strong online following earlier this year thanks to a blend of anti-establishment rhetoric and peddling of conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19.

The policies of his New Zealand Public Party, which joined forces with Ross's Advance NZ a few months before the election, include a promise to restore government integrity, investigate any UN agendas, and look into the use of 1080 and 5G technology.

But come election night, Advance NZ failed to make much of an impression - and neither did he, finishing fourth in the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau, which was comprehensively won by Labour MP Kelvin Davis.

For now, Te Kahika Jr is refusing to accept the election result and pushing to get a second tally of Advance NZ voters as evidence of a corrupt electoral process.

"We're going to get an app… and we're going to get everybody to sign on that they voted for us," he said. "That'll give us a real-time understanding of who voted for us because I cannot believe just 21,000 voted for us, that's for sure.

"To all those silly people who think this is a silly discussion, you wait to see what's coming down the pipeline aimed at you, buddies. To all those people saying we're nutters and conspiracy theorists, you just wait - you just blinking wait.

"I wish I was wrong - I wish I was just an out-of-control insane nutter - but I've never been more sound and logical in my life than what I am today."