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Ghahraman seeks to strengthen Electoral Amendment Bill

Golriz Ghahraman seeks to strengthen Electoral Amendment Bill


26 SEPTEMBER 2019

The Green Party’s Electoral Reform Spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman, has asked the Justice Select Committee today to adopt measures contained in her ‘Strengthening Democracy’ Member’s Bill in the current Electoral Amendment Bill.

“This is likely the final opportunity to make substantive moves to protect and strengthen our democracy before the next election.” Ms Ghahraman said.

“I agree with the SIS that a suite of changes is needed in respect of our political donations regime to protect Aotearoa against political interference.

“We have already seen examples of such risk here, with the SFO currently investigating the leader of the opposition.”

“Democracy is being undermined by big money around the world. From the gun lobby, to the tobacco lobby, public safety has been placed at risk. This is also a major obstacle to taking action on climate change.”

The Strengthening Democracy Bill proposes:

· More transparency and limits on money donated to politicians and parties

· Allowing voters of Māori descent to change roll type at any time between elections

· Overturning the prisoner voting ban

· The implementation of the Electoral Commission’s 2012 MMP Review recommendations for the 2023 General Election.

“Together, these wider electoral reforms will strengthen our democracy,” said Golriz Ghahraman.

“Currently we exclude people in prison from voting, despite our Supreme Court and Waitangi Tribunal finding this is a breach of fundamental human rights- – the right to cast a vote. Our system of justice should focus on rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community, which we know is aided by engagement in society including by voting.”

“Māori should be able to choose which roll they are on at any time. Currently Māori can only change roll during the Māori Electoral Option, which is a short window of time once every 5 years. This restriction is unnecessary and removing it will help Māori participation in our democracy.

“These are all changes that will enhance and improve our democratic system. New Zealanders understand that everyone should be able to exercise their right to vote and that corruption should be prevented whenever possible.

“We will be seeking to insert these four key changes into the legislation so the Bill is providing the strongest possible outcomes for our democracy”.

ENDS

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