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Parties in first formal election procedures

Political parties in first formal election procedures

The first formal mechanisms in preparation for this year’s general election are underway with political parties wanting to be considered for an allocation of broadcasting time or funds for radio or television election advertising having until Wednesday, 9 February, to let the Electoral Commission know.

“The Commission will later invite and consider submissions on how it should allocate the time and funds from parties who put their hands up in February. Parties who don’t give the February notice will not be eligible for consideration for an allocation. Parties do not have to be registered yet, but will have to be by the date Parliament dissolves or expires to use any time or funding that may be allocated,” Electoral Commission chief executive Dr Helena Catt said.

Representatives appointed by the Government and Opposition are expected to join the four permanent commissioners in making a preliminary allocation in April. The law requires the Commission to have regard to six factors such as votes received at the last election and current polling. Dr Catt said that $2.081 million (including GST) had been provided in funding each election since 1990 and this figure would be used for the preliminary allocation. The Government was expected to confirm the amount available for 2005 in conjunction with its May budget. The decisions will be finalised shortly after Parliament dissolves or expires no later than 14 August ahead of the general election to be held no later than 24 September.

Parties may only place election broadcast advertising from Writ Day using funds allocated by the Electoral Commission. Electorate candidates may place broadcast advertising from their general campaign expense limit in the three months before Election Day.

Details of the formal notice invited from parties are in the New Zealand Gazette, No. 1, 2005 and at www.elections.org.nz/esyst/parties.html along with information about registering a political party and election broadcasting. Details have been mailed to registered parties as well as possible intending registered parties in recent written contact.

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