Bankruptcy ruling disputed

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 05:00 16/02/2013

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A South Canterbury, farmer and political campaigner is seeking to overturn a bankruptcy adjudication and claims debt owed to the National Party is disputed.

Roger Payne was last year judged bankrupt by the High Court in Timaru over $35,000 in cost awards owed to the National Party.

Payne said he didn't accept the "bankrupt" label was accurate as he was able to pay his debts, but he was unwilling to pay those claimed by National.

"I am clearly solvent, " he said. "Why should I pay out hard-earned money when I'm taking public interest action to protect democracy?"

The costs rulings are rooted in a long-running dispute between Payne and National over candidate selection procedures in the Selywn electorate ahead of the 2008 general election.

Payne was turned down as a candidate, then successfully injuncted the process over claimed unfairness.

He subsequently lost an electoral petition challenging how National selects candidates.

Payne claims his challenges were in the public interest and therefore he was not subject to cost awards.

Payne said he had filed to overturn the bankruptcy ruling, and a judicial review of earlier cost awards, in the High Court in Christchurch and had a judicial teleconference scheduled for February 22.

"I have to go and clear my name, as well as strive to clean up the selection policies in all political parties," he said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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