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Local Electoral Amendment Bill passes third reading

Hon Chris Tremain

Minister of Local Government

25 June 2013 Media Statement
Local Electoral Amendment Bill passes third reading

A Bill which increases transparency for local government elections, streamlines pre-election processes and improves the availability of information about candidates has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

Local Government Minister Chris Tremain says the Local Electoral Amendment Bill will introduce more transparency into local authority elections.

“The Bill makes a number of important changes to strengthen the rules around the receipt and disclosure of donations especially anonymous donations to candidates for local councils, district health boards and other local positions. It is designed to instil high levels of public confidence in local electoral processes,” says Mr Tremain.

“The Bill limits anonymous donations that a candidate can keep to $1500, clarifies and tightens the definition of ‘anonymous donation’, increases disclosure obligations and requires electoral officers to publish candidate returns of their donations and expenses. The Bill also introduces new penalties for non-compliance.

“The important improvements the Bill makes to the rules for candidate campaign donations will bring the rules for local elections more into line with those for national elections.

“The Bill also makes a number of practical improvements to pre-election processes based on earlier reviews of local electoral processes and the experiences of councils and others involved in the elections.

“The Bill gives councils greater flexibility to set ward boundaries in a way that better reflects communities of interest within their territories. It streamlines candidate nomination processes and provides electoral officers with an extra week to produce high quality voting documents.

“These changes will improve community representation, help electors cast an informed vote and ensure robust candidacy processes.

“The public rightfully expects high levels of transparency and confidence in the conduct of all public elections. I am particularly pleased that this Bill has been progressed in time for the local authority elections on 12 October this year.

“The Bill now awaits royal assent and when that happens it will become law.”

ENDS


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