A highly endangered North Island Brown Kiwi chick "Puta-nui," Maori for "born big" as he weighed 405 grams at birth, is weighed for the Department of Conservation's "Operation Nest Egg" at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 29 November 1999, which successfully br Photograph:( AFP )
An election for “Bird of the Year” has turned murky in New Zealand after 1,500 fake votes were cast in favour of the little-spotted Kiwi
An election for “Bird of the Year” has turned murky in New Zealand after 1,500 fake votes were cast in favour of the little-spotted Kiwi.
Now, the fake votes have been cancelled, and voting continues for New Zealand's next Bird of the Year.
The little-spotted Kiwi is the smallest bird in the kiwi family. Its supporters have been accused of voter fraud. New Zealand has a tradition of selecting a bird of the year. Each voter can rank five birds of their choice, and the bird with most votes is selected as bird of the year.
The organisers do not tolerate fraud, with each person allowed to vote once. This year, more than 35,000 votes have been cast. During counting, officials noticed an irregularity: 1,500 votes were cast from the same IP address.
The little-spotted Kiwi was leading the race for a brief while, but once the fake votes were removed it dropped down the leaderboard.
In New Zealand, bird of the year elections can get heated, with endorsements coming in from all quarters.
An adult toy store backed its candidature because the Hihi bird takes more than one partner.
Bird of the year elections have always been scandalous. In 2015, two teenagers tried to rig the vote in favour of the Kokako bird.
Again in 2018, a single person tried to vote more than 300 times. The little-spotted Kiwi is a flagship of New Zealand. It stands for the national values of democracy, fairness and equality.