Group opposing euthanasia referendum claims to have no idea how its flyers got in EasyVote packs

The manager of a campaign against the End of Life Choice Act says he has no idea how flyers encouraging people to vote 'no' in the referendum got into envelopes distributed by the Electoral Commission. 

On Monday The Spinoff reported four members of a Northland family opened EasyVote packs sent out by the Electoral Commission to find flyers from Votesafe, a campaign against making assisted dying legal for those with terminal illness.

But Henoch Kloosterboer, Votesafe's' campaign manager, says he has no idea how the promotional material found its way into the sealed envelopes.

"We do not know how this has happened. We are committed to running an ethical, legal campaign for the End of Life Choice Act referendum," he told Newshub.

He says the company which printed the flyer, Ovato, also printed the referendum voting flyer used by the Electoral Commission.

"It is our understanding that they were printed in the same facility as the Electoral Commission's EasyVote referendum flyer. We are hopeful that further investigation will quickly determine the cause of this error."

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told Newshub the EasyVote pack includes only Electoral Commission material, and the processes in place to produce and deliver the packs mean that it is highly unlikely any other material could be included. 

"We have begun immediate investigations to get to the bottom of this. We will be checking whether our EasyVote packs were delivered at the same time as Votesafe was delivering its flyers in Northland.

"We will also be double-checking our processes for collating the contents of the packs and the delivery of the packs."

If a large number of the flyers made their way into EasyVote envelopes, it's possible the result of the referendum could be challenged.

Otago University electoral law expert professor Andrew Geddis told The Spinoff a petition could be launched against the vote on the basis that "irregularities in the conduct of the referendum or of any person connected with it materially affected the result".

However the Electoral Commission has only received one complaint out of 3.3 million delivered envelopes.

"Until we establish otherwise, we are confident about the integrity of the pack's contents."