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Own-Goals By Goff And Burton

Claims by Phil Goff and Mark Burton that National is encouraging people to enrol in seats other than the one they reside in, illustrate how ill-informed they are on the legislation their own Government is proposing, National Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

Under current electoral law every New Zealander has to re-enrol in the electorate in which they are primarily resident every three years. To enrol in a seat other than that in which you live would, under the current law, be breaking the law.

However Labour is proposing a major change to the Electoral Act which would remove the requirement for New Zealanders to re-enrol every three years.

"National strongly opposes this proposed law change. We believe the high integrity of New Zealand's electoral roll is fundamental to democracy," Jenny Shipley said.

"National's previous President, John Slater, had raised our concerns in National's oral submission to the select committee on the Electoral Act, that if Labour proceeded with a change in the law the primary place of residence provision would become less clear.

"It could easily lead to political parties encouraging people to enrol in seats that would provide electoral advantage to the party concerned.

"National is on the public record as strongly opposing any changes to the law that could lead to such potential abuse.

"John Slater, in his submission to the select committee, used the examples of Coromandel and Taupo to make the point. But you could equally well use Wellington Central, or any other electorate where vacation or business use lead to people having second properties or apartments which are not necessarily their primary place of residence.

"If Labour pushes this provision through, they will be responsible for the consequences. Mr Goff and Mr Burton should be more cautious about relaying third-hand conversations without realising the conversation described the risk posed by their own Government's foolish electoral change proposals," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends


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