Loophole means cat sent election enrolment forms
The next frontier in democratic - or should that be demoCATic - elections could be upon us: an Auckland puss has been sent a reminder to enrol to vote.
The aptly named Chairman Meow, of Henderson, was sent a letter on January 19 instructing him to enrol, which presents enough difficulties in its own right, let alone the fact the cat is currently missing.
Tiana Lyes, the cat's owner, said the loophole is probably to do with the fact she recently changed her address with New Zealand Post and was required to register all occupants who receive mail.
Why did my cat get a letter from the Electoral Commission? Because our vet sends him mail and we changed address??? pic.twitter.com/CBnYMJPZng— Tiana (@Tweet_Ti) January 23, 2016
"I listed my cat's name because he often receives letters from the vet," the 32-year-old said.
Upon receiving Meow's enrolment reminder, she tweeted about the bizarre occurrence, much to the delight of cat lovers the twitterverse over.
Her message posed the question: "Why did my cat get a letter from the Electoral Commission? Because our vet sends him mail and we changed address???" and was liked and retweeted about 500 times.
"I didn't expect it to go so far," Lyes said of the tweet.
She said the enrolment reminder was apt given his political namesake - Chairman Mao was the founder of the People's Republic of China - and that he is a "stately wee feline".
Lyes hopes the attention her black and white moggy has been getting online will lead to him being found.
"Chairman has been missing for about two weeks now. He's probably between our place in Henderson and our old one in Te Atatu South.
"We have hope that he's still exploring - a couple neighbours have said they have seen him in the area," Lyes said.
Electoral Commission spokeswoman Anastasia Turnbull confirmed Chairman Meow probably ended up on its database after Lyes included the name in her mail redirection request.
"We're notified from NZ Post when there has been a mail redirection - if people check the box saying 'We need enrolment details updated'."
She said pets being sent enrolment reminders are uncommon but not totally unheard of.
"It's usually picked up by the registrar but occasionally things like this slip through.
"If people just let us know we check a couple of boxes and make sure it doesn't happen again," Turnbull said.
While Meow's political affiliations remain a mystery, Lyes joked she could remember a conversation they shared earlier in the year.
"He didn't admit much but he did say that he wasn't a fan of Gareth Morgan. So if he were to join politics, he would definitely vote against him!"