Election Access Fund Act 2020

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1 Title

This Act is the Election Access Fund Act 2020.

2 Commencement

This Act comes into force on 1 July 2021.

Part 1 Preliminary provisions

3 Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish a fund designed to remove or reduce barriers to standing as a candidate in a general election or a by-election faced by individuals as a consequence of their disability and which non-disabled individuals do not face.

4 Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

by-election has the same meaning as in section 3(1) of the Electoral Act 1993

candidate

(a)

means a constituency candidate or a list candidate within the meaning of those terms in section 3(1) of the Electoral Act 1993; and

(b)

includes a person who has declared their intention of becoming a constituency candidate or a list candidate

Electoral Commission has the same meaning as in section 3(1) of the Electoral Act 1993

fund means the fund established under section 6

general election has the same meaning as in section 3(1) of the Electoral Act 1993

Minister means the Minister of the Crown who, under the authority of any warrant or with the authority of the Prime Minister, is for the time being responsible for the administration of this Act.

5 Act binds the Crown

This Act binds the Crown.

Part 2 Election Access Fund

6 Election Access Fund established

(1)

The Electoral Commission must establish a fund to facilitate the participation of disabled persons standing as candidates in, or seeking selection as candidates in, general elections or by-elections.

(2)

In each year, out of an appropriation by Parliament for the purpose, the fund must be paid a general grant.

(3)

The amount of the grant must be determined by the Minister, taking into account the purpose of this Act set out in section 3.

7 Eligibility for funding for election access

(1)

The Electoral Commission must, by notice in the Gazette, set out the basis on which a person listed in subsection (3) may be eligible for a payment out of the fund.

(2)

The Electoral Commission must not issue a notice under subsection (1) without first consulting persons and organisations that the Commission considers appropriate, having regard to the purpose of the fund.

(3)

A person may be eligible for a payment out of the fund if the person is a disabled person who is standing as a candidate in, or seeking selection as a candidate in, a general election or a by-election.

8 Payment from fund not election expense or donation

Any payment made from the fund to a candidate is not to be treated as—

(a)

an election expense for the purposes of subpart 1 or 2 of Part 6A of the Electoral Act 1993; or

(b)

a candidate donation or a party donation for the purposes of subpart 3 of Part 6A of that Act.

9 Payment from fund is exempt income

Any payment from the fund to a candidate is exempt income of the candidate for the purposes of section CW 64 of the Income Tax Act 2007 (which provides for exemptions from income tax under other Acts).

10 Review of Act

(1)

The Minister must, no later than 6 months after the date on which the Electoral Commission provides its first report on this Act under section 8(1) of the Electoral Act 1993 after the commencement of this Act,—

(a)

review, or arrange for a review of, the operation and effectiveness of this Act; and

(b)

prepare a report on that review.

(2)

The review must—

(a)

consider the operation, purpose, and scope of the fund; and

(b)

assess whether any amendments to this Act are necessary or desirable.

(3)

The Minister must present the report to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable after it has been completed.

Amendments to Electoral Act 1993

11 Amendments to Electoral Act 1993

Sections 12 and 13 amend the Electoral Act 1993.

12 Section 5 amended (Functions)

After section 5(c), insert:

(ca)

administer the fund established by section 6 of the Election Access Fund Act 2020:

13 Section 8 amended (Electoral Commission must report on general election)

After section 8(1)(d), insert:

(da)

the funding provided under the Election Access Fund Act 2020 to disabled persons standing as candidates, or seeking selection as candidates, to facilitate their participation in the election; and

Legislative history

22 February 2018

Introduction (Bill 27–1)

16 May 2018

First reading and referral to Governance and Administration Committee

24 September 2019

Reported from Governance and Administration Committee (Bill 27–2)

4 December 2019

Second reading

10 December 2019

Committee of the whole House

11 March 2020

Third reading

16 March 2020

Royal assent

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.