An electoral review

Kris Faafoi announced:

The Independent Review will look at elections rules such as:

  • voting age and overseas voting
  • funding of political parties
  • the length of the parliamentary term
  • the Electoral Commission’s recommendations on MMP:
    • changes to the party vote threshold
    • one seat electorate rule
    • ratio of electorate seats to list seats
    • the overhang rule

These are good topics to be looked at by an independent review, and it is pleasing these areas will not be subject to change until at least 2026. Any changes should only be made with wide bipartisan support.

“The next step with the Independent Review is to put together a review panel. The panel will report back by late 2023 with recommendations for change,” Kris Faafoi said.

“I will be consulting with all parliamentary party leaders and Parliament’s Justice Committee on the Terms of Reference for the review before they are finalised. I am also writing to these and other groups, such as Māori organisations, youth organisations, universities and the New Zealand Law Society to seek nominations for potential panel members.

The composition of the review panel will be critical.

“Some rules could be improved before the General Election in 2023. For example, we’re looking at improving the transparency of political donations to make it easier to see where the money is coming from.

“Another focus is looking at when people can move between the Māori Electoral Roll and the General Roll. At the moment Māori voters won’t be able move rolls before the 2023 General Election.

“This work is a commitment signalled in Labour’s 2020 Manifesto to protect the integrity of New Zealand elections, and it is also part of the Cooperation Agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa.

“We are looking to make progress on the work before the end of the year.”

The change around when voters can shift rolls will do the opposite of protecting the integrity of elections. It will enable massive gerrymandering by allowing those of Maori descent to choose one roll for the purpose of determining the number of Maori seats and then swap to another roll at election time in order to influence marginal seat outcomes.

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