Controversial Councillor Candidate Cleared to Run As “Jedi”

Controversial Councillor Candidate Cleared to Run As “Jedi”

Climate scepticism, Yoda endorses. Cancelled, the Force shall be

A candidate for the Dunedin City Council (DCC) is running as an “independent pro-freedom Jedi warrior”. Despite the candidate’s controversial political views, the Chief Jedi of Aotearoa seems to have given his blessing to the move. 

Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle, owner of online bookstore Renaissance Books, is also one of 39 candidates hoping to snag a spot as a DCC councillor at this year’s local elections. He is, notably, the only candidate to publicly affiliate as a Jedi. This is despite the 2018 census showing there are around 20,000 Jedi in Aotearoa, showing serious underrepresentation among our Force-wielding community.

Moncrief-Spittle told Critic Te Ārohi that he was running as a Jedi to “Bring peace and justice to all the galaxy, this is the Jedi way,” adding: “There is a disturbance in the force. Time it is now for Jedi to return. In everything the force is, even in local body elections.” He said that his Jedi training “a long time ago, I completed, in a galaxy far, far away”. The Jedi affiliation was not something that should be taken too seriously, added Moncrief-Spittle: “It is meant to be humorous. I think humour is something the DCC could use more of.”

However, despite the fun affiliation, Moncrief-Spittle has also courted controversy on multiple occasions in the past, from endorsing “climate-change sceptic” views when he last ran in 2019, to his involvement with alt-right connected groups like the Freedom and Rights Coalition, and Counterspin Media. The Otago Daily Times reported in July that he was involved in an altercation with anti-fascist activist Sina Brown-Davis, her husband, and local activist Jack Brazil. That didn’t sound very Jedi-like to Critic Te Ārohi, so we reached out to the Jedi Society of New Zealand to gauge their opinion. If you’re curious, they are real, and open to members at 

Chief Jedi of the Council of the Jedi Society, Anthony Bremmer, told Critic Te Ārohi that it was “appropriate” for politicians to run as Jedi, saying that “Many candidates stand based on their religious beliefs… To suggest not being able to do this is wrong.” When pressed about Moncrief-Spittle’s position or viewpoints, Anthony said “This is more problematic as we don’t tend to make decisions on such things, but then organisations don’t tend to either.” 

While he said that he would “like to offer some comments, I know a percentage of members will disagree”. However, despite his silence, he emphasised: “One hard stipulation for Jedi requirement is belief in Democracy. Jedi believe democracy is the best method for achieving a just result. The voters will decide.” For what it’s worth, if the Empire is the one advocating climate-positive policies for a carbon-zero future, Critic Te Ārohi will be casting our ballots for the Dark Side. Bring on Mayor Vader. 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2022.
Posted 3:33pm Friday 19th August 2022 by Denzel Chung.