Two Bills that modernise electoral law have passed through Parliament and will be implemented before this year’s election, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.
“The Electoral Amendment Bill and the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill will help make the election process more efficient and fit for purpose,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Bills respond to recommendations made in a review by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee carried out after every election, and were heard together in Parliament as they are closely related.
“It is important New Zealand continues to have a fair and modern electoral system, and these Bills help simplify the election rules well in advance of this year’s election.
“The Electoral Amendment Bill makes a wide range of changes that will collectively improve services to voters, candidates, and parties.
“For example, the Electoral Commission can now begin counting advance votes earlier on election day, and will be able to send information to voters via email in addition to post.
“The changes also increase accountability in the way political parties use their funding. They now have to file an audited return of how their Broadcasting Act allocation was spent, just as they do for their other election expenses,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Broadcasting Amendment Bill modernises party election broadcasting rules by removing the requirement for parties to provide opening and closing addresses on television and radio, and allowing them to use their Broadcasting Act funding to advertise on the internet.
“Updating the election rules helps ensure parties are clear on their responsibilities and supports a smooth delivery of the election.”