Sunday, April 14, 2024

No fixed address for LG election ads

The Government has confirmed it will change the law to remove the requirement to list a physical address on campaign advertising for upcoming local government elections.

“Local democracy thrives when a broad range of individuals with different perspectives and experiences stand for public office, bringing a contest of ideas,” said Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.

“Changing the address requirement will create a safer local electoral environment that supports diverse candidacy, and better protects candidates of all backgrounds from harassment.”

The Local Electoral Act 2001 currently requires that candidates include a physical address on the authorisation statement of advertising materials, such as billboards and flyers.

“Often this is the candidate’s home address. I have heard growing concerns that candidates who publicise their home addresses may face undue risk to their physical safety, particularly for women and visible minorities, and that this is likely to discourage democratic participation,” the Minister said.

“The requirement for contact information on campaign advertisements is supposed to promote transparency, not dissuade people from putting their hands up to represent their local communities.”

A Local Electoral Amendment Bill will be shortly introduced into Parliament replacing the requirement to include a physical address.

“There will now be a wider range of options including an email address, a P.O Box, a telephone number or a website URL that contains one of these wider range of contact options.”

“There have been cross-party discussions on the bill, and about having it passed in time for upcoming local body nominations, due to take place on 15 July.

“This change was recommended by and supported by Local Government NZ and will bring certainty to campaigning rules for the upcoming local body elections,” Ms Mahuta said.

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