Looks like the electoral commission is going to be busy


 What with Andrew Moore of www.dontvotelabour.org.nz being approach by the electoral commission and Mr Tony Gavigan ‘shareholder activist’ (how do you end up with a job like that) encouraging everyone to register, it looks like it’s going to be a busy year for the Electoral Commission.

If you should wish to register as a third party you can contact the Electoral Commission on info@elections.govt.nz or phone 04 474 0670

Or here is the application form http://www.elections.org.nz/uploads/third_party_listing_form_20_dec_07.pdf

 The following is a brief overview of the rules we now have to play under (as uplifted from www.elections.org.nz)

New laws are in place for the 2008 general election to be held no later than Saturday, 15 November 2008. 

This article lists some key areas of change which are particularly relevant from 1 January 2008, to the general public, and to those who might by covered by new “Third Party” provisions.  This information will appear as advertisements in daily newspapers on 1 January 2008 and in Sunday newspapers on 6 January 2008.

You should seek more information if any of the following might be relevant to you.

Donations to electorate candidates, political parties, and third parties

  • Donors giving more than $1000 (whether directly or through an intermediary) must be identified to the recipient and will be named in public returns if limits are reached:
    • to electorate candidates of more than $1000 towards an election campaign
    • to political parties of more than $10,000 in a calendar year
    • to third parties of more than $5000 towards an election campaign.
  • Donors may not give more than $1000 to any recipient unless they are: living in NZ, or are NZ citizens, or registered electors, or bodies incorporated in NZ, or unincorporated bodies headquartered or having their main place of business in NZ.

Non-candidates or non-political parties (“third parties”) wanting to influence voters

  • Campaigning on political issues is not covered by new requirements unless it is encouraging or persuading voters to vote for or against any of a candidate(s), party(ies), or type of candidate or party.
  • The news media, including individuals’ own participation in political discussion through the news media and non-commercial blogs, are not covered by these requirements.
  • Any person or group wanting to encourage or persuade voters (as above) must put their name and address to any election advertisement.
  • Any person or group wanting to spend more than $12,000 influencing voters in this way must list with the Electoral Commission as a Third Party, may not spend more than $120,000 from 1 January 2008 on election activity, must appoint a financial agent (who authorises its election advertising), and are subject to financial accountability arrangements covering campaign expenses and donations. Lower limits apply if a third party campaign only relates to an electorate candidate.

Campaigns by electorate candidates and political parties

  • Definitions of election activity to be counted against expense limits have changed, and expenses must be accounted for from 1 January 2008.
  • Financial agents must be appointed and are responsible for authorising all advertising.
  • Guidance is available for electorate candidates.  Guidance for registered political parties will be online from early 2008. 

To find out more

Information about the new laws (including new offences and increased penalties) is available from www.elections.org.nz.

Electoral Finance Act 2007  contains links to the new legislation, as well as a fuller summary list of changes.

Or, you can contact the appropriate electoral agency:

Electoral Commission, email info@elections.govt.nz, phone 04-474 0670 from 3 January 2008, for:

  • Donations (except to electorate candidates)
  • Political parties
  • Third parties

Chief Electoral Office, email chief.electoral.office@justice.govt.nz , phone 04-495 0030 from 7 January 2008, for:

  • Electorate candidates (including donations to them).  (Candidates may wish to contact their party first.)

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