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Citizens to have say on electoral matters

5 September 2008
Citizens to have say on electoral matters

A Citizens' Forum will be established to consider matters of election and political party funding, as part of an agreement between the Green Party and the Government during the negotiations around the Electoral Finance Act, the Green Party announced today.

"The Forum will provide much needed independence in the review of election funding", Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"It will include representatives from every electorate in the country and will be resourced so as to provide a considered opinion about the future of political party and election funding."

The Forum will be set up in early 2009 by an expert panel that will start its work immediately.

"We are really pleased with the calibre of the members of the panel, who are all experts in the fields of law and political studies. We are fortunate to have people such as Associate Professor Andrew Geddis, Professor Stephen Levine and Dr Jean Drage examine this complex issue. I am confident the outcome will move New Zealand forward into a fairer and more transparent system.

"The expert panel and forum will examine a wide range of issues including the administration of the electoral system, funding of political parties, and broader issues of election funding deemed to be important. The expert panel will set the work programme for the Citizen's Forum.

"Forums such as this have been used overseas to consider and review similar issues. The great beauty of Citizens' Forums is that they take the debate away from the political parties and hand it over to a group of citizens without a vested interest.

"We believe that a Citizens' Forum is the best place to consider the contentious issues of political party and election funding that have been raised in the debate around the Electoral Finance Act.

"While the Act was needed to close loopholes in the law revealed at the last election, we need a more inclusive and disinterested process to further consider the bigger picture of political party and election funding.

"We hope that all New Zealanders will support this process and that we can find a place to have some non-partisan reasoned discussion about the future of our democracy."

ENDS

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