Thursday, July 18, 2024

Electoral Bill ready for polls

The Electoral Amendment Bill, which aims to increase transparency around political donations, loans, and the financial statements of registered political parties, has passed its third reading.

The Bill requires disclosure of:

  • donor identities for any party donations over $5,000;
  • the number and total value of party donations under $1,500, where the party knows the donor’s identity;
  • the proportion of total party donations that are in-kind (non-monetary) donations (such as fundraising dinners and auctions); and
  • loans to candidates from unregistered lenders. 

“The Bill increases the amount of information about how our political parties and candidates are funded, building public trust and confidence in our electoral system and is an important building block to strengthen the foundations of our democracy,” said Justice Minister, Kiri Allan.

“The Bill also responds to concerns arising from the recent High Court case involving the New Zealand First Foundation, by clarifying that a party donation is when a person donates to a political party or any other person with the intention that the donation is for the benefit of the party.”

It will also become an offence to fail to send a candidate or party donation to the candidate or party secretary within 10 working days.

“Donations to political parties and candidates are absolutely a legitimate form of political participation. The rules must promote openness and transparency to support public trust and confidence in the integrity of our electoral system,” Ms Allan said.

The Bill will come into force on 1 January 2023, except the provisions relating to overseas voting which will come into force on 31 March 2023.

The Independent Electoral Review Panel is also currently carrying out its broad review of New Zealand’s electoral law and its final report is expected by the end of 2023.

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