Electoral officials have confirmed that they have been stockpiling hundreds of plastic buckets, first aid kits and bottles of hand sanitiser in preparation for next Saturday’s general election.
Officials are concerned about the threat to public health in the event of a mass outbreak of tactical voting, and have been drawing up contingency plans to ensure they are not overwhelmed with distressed and confused voters.
They are particularly concerned that a contagion of vote-splitting may occur in the affluent Epsom electorate. Army units have been put on standby in case a mass evacuation of the unwell is required on election day.
Symptoms of tactical voting can include nausea and panic attacks. Some National Party supporters in Epsom have spoken of the great fear they have that when they step into the voting booth and are confronted with a voting paper with John Banks’ name on it, they will involuntarily and explosively vomit.
Labour supporters in the same electorate have reported that the prospect of voting for the National candidate just to keep Mr Banks out makes their skin crawl.
Officials plan to have vomit buckets at every booth, and hand sanitiser will be available for those who feel unclean after they have cast their vote.
In high risk areas, such as Ohariu and Epsom, mobile decontamination units will be operated by emergency services, and wire brushes and scouring pads will be available to those who need more than sanitiser to clean their hands.
Dr Sigfried Ludovich from the Electoral Commission said the risk to public health during the election was very real, and that no chances were being taken.
“In this election, more than any other, political parties are asking their supporters to do things no decent person should be asked to do,” said Dr Ludovich.
“We believe there is a high risk of hysteria and panic striking voters as they try to summon up the courage to vote for Peter Dunne.
“For some people the horror of voting for that tired old relic may induce seizures and even comas.”
However, Dr Ludovich has assured the public that the vote-splitting danger is not present in every electorate.
“In Te Atatu, for example, large numbers of National voters have for some years happily and eagerly voted against their own party’s candidate.”