Background checks for electoral candidates
Matt King - MP for Northland
7 November 2019
A Member’s Bill that would require the criminal histories of candidates in general and local government elections to be published will today be entered into the ballot, MP for Northland Matt King says.
“The Disclosure of Electoral Candidates’ Convictions Bill sets up a process in which the Ministry of Justice would be required to provide information about the criminal history of electoral candidates to the Electoral Commission or the local Electoral Officer who would then publish this information.
“Only offences punishable by two or more years’ imprisonment would be disclosed. Those concealed under the Clean Slate scheme would not be published.
“New Zealanders are voting for people who will represent them and their views in local and central government, and they deserve to know whether their elected representatives have been convicted of serious crimes. This transparency will mean New Zealanders can make an informed choice when they cast their votes.
“My Member’s Bill doesn’t seek to stop people with criminal convictions from becoming candidates, especially as many people have legitimately reformed their lives.
“There have been examples in local elections this year of people standing who had convictions for fraud, serious assault, sexual assault, and drug dealing. This information was not publicly available and voters didn’t have this information when filling out their voting papers. My Bill would change that.”
Notes to editors: Attached is a copy of the Disclosure of Electoral Candidates’ Convictions Bill.