JUSTICE Minister Judith Collins has today introduced the Electoral Amendment Bill to improve the efficiency and enhance the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process.
Ms Collins says the Bill, proposing a number of changes to electoral law, implements many recommendations made by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2011 General Election.
“The changes in the Bill focus on improving services to voters, candidates and parties, improving efficiency by allowing greater use of technology, and further enhancing the integrity of elections,” Ms Collins says.
“New Zealand is fortunate that its electoral system has a very high level of integrity. However it’s important we continuously improve our processes to reflect lessons learnt from previous elections and changing technology.”
The Bill will allow for greater use of EasyVote cards to simplify and speed up vote issuing at elections, and will improve the accuracy and efficiency of the scrutiny of the rolls.
Ms Collins says the Bill also proposes changes to improve efficiency by allowing greater use of technology.
“New provisions would allow for full online enrolment so new and existing electors can enrol or update their details online using the RealMe service,” Ms Collins says.
The Bill makes a number of other amendments to improve the integrity of elections through simplifying and clarifying the law.
For example loans to parties will now be subject to similar disclosure rules as donations. Currently, there is only limited disclosure of loans to parties. Under the Bill parties will have to disclose details of every loan exceeding $15,000 as part of an annual return.
Ms Collins expects that the Bill will receive its first reading and be referred to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee shortly.