Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill

  • discharged on 15 December 2008

Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill

Government Bill

3—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill amends the Electoral Act 1993 (the principal Act) in order to enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system. It is also designed to enhance the maintenance of the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors. The Bill reinstates the operative provisions of the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act 2001, which expired at the close of 17 September 2005. The Government believes that these provisions are a useful part of New Zealand's constitutional framework and should be reinstated permanently.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 relates to the Title of the Bill.

Clause 2 relates to the commencement of the Bill. The Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 relates to the purposes of the Bill. One purpose of the Bill is to amend the principal Act in order to enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system. Another purpose is to enhance the maintenance of the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors.

Clause 4 of the Bill inserts new sections 55A to 55E into the principal Act. These provisions reinstate the comparable provisions in force during the last term of Parliament.

New section 55A applies to all members of Parliament other than members who were elected as independent members. The seat of a member of Parliament to whom this section applies becomes vacant if the member ceases to be a parliamentary member of the political party for which the member was elected. A member ceases to be a parliamentary member of the political party for which the member was elected if, and only if,—

  • the member delivers to the Speaker a written notice that complies with new section 55B (which is a notice indicating that the member has resigned from parliamentary membership of the political party to which he or she was elected or wishes to be recognised for parliamentary purposes as either an independent member of Parliament or a member of another political party); or

  • the parliamentary leader of the political party for which the member of Parliament was elected delivers to the Speaker a written notice that complies with new section 55C.

New section 55B sets out the formal requirements for a notice issued by a member of Parliament to the Speaker.

New section 55C sets out the formal requirements for a notice issued by the leader of a political party to the Speaker.

New section 55D sets out the procedure that must be followed before a notice can be issued by the leader of a political party to the Speaker. In order to be effective, a notice from the parliamentary leader of a political party must be accompanied by a statement in writing, signed by that leader, indicating that the parliamentary leader reasonably believes that the member of Parliament concerned has acted in a way that has distorted, and is likely to continue to distort, the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined at the last general election.

The statement must also indicate that the parliamentary leader has delivered to the member of Parliament concerned written notice—

  • informing the member that the parliamentary leader considers that the relevant provisions apply to the member, and the reasons for that opinion; and

  • advising the member that he or she has 21 working days from the date of receiving the notice to respond to the matters raised in the notice by notice in writing addressed to the parliamentary leader.

Finally, the statement must indicate that, after consideration of the conduct of the member and his or her response (if any) by the parliamentary members of the political party for which the member was elected, the parliamentary leader of that party confirms that at least two-thirds of the parliamentary members of that party agree that notice should be given by the parliamentary leader under new section 55A(3)(b).

New section 55E sets out definitions of the terms parliamentary leader and political party for which the member of Parliament was elected.

The term parliamentary leader, in relation to a political party, means the member of Parliament for the time being recognised by the majority of the parliamentary members of a political party as the parliamentary leader of that party, or the member of Parliament for the time being acting in that capacity.

The term political party for which the member of Parliament was elected means—

  • the political party in whose party list the member's name appeared at his or her election; or

  • the political party identified as the political party for which the member is a candidate, in the nomination paper nominating the member as a constituency candidate, at his or her election.


Hon Michael Cullen

Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill

Government Bill

3—1

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title
  • (1) This Act is the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act 2005.

    (2) In this Act, the Electoral Act 19931 is called the principal Act.

2 Commencement
  • This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Purpose
  • The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act in order to—

    • (a) enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system; and

    • (b) enhance the maintenance of the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors.

4 New sections 55A to 55E inserted
  • The principal Act is amended by inserting, after section 55AA, the following sections:

    55A Member ceasing to be parliamentary member of political party
    • (1) This section applies to every member of Parliament, except a member elected as an independent.

      (2) The seat of a member of Parliament to whom this section applies becomes vacant if the member of Parliament ceases to be a parliamentary member of the political party for which the member of Parliament was elected.

      (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a member of Parliament ceases to be a parliamentary member of the political party for which the member of Parliament was elected if, and only if,—

      • (a) the member of Parliament delivers to the Speaker a written notice that complies with section 55B; or

      • (b) the parliamentary leader of the political party for which the member of Parliament was elected delivers to the Speaker a written notice that complies with section 55C.

    55B Notice from member
    • A written notice under section 55A(3)(a) must—

      • (a) be signed by the member of Parliament by whom it is given; and

      • (b) be addressed to the Speaker; and

      • (c) notify the Speaker that the member of Parliament—

        • (i) has resigned from the parliamentary membership of the political party for which the member of Parliament was elected; or

        • (ii) wishes to be recognised for parliamentary purposes as either an independent member of Parliament or a member of another political party.

    55C Notice from parliamentary leader of party
    • A written notice under section 55A(3)(b) must—

      • (a) be signed by the parliamentary leader of the political party for which the member of Parliament who is the subject of the notice was elected; and

      • (b) be addressed to the Speaker; and

      • (c) be accompanied by a statement that complies with section 55D.

    55D Form of statement to be made by parliamentary leader
    • The statement referred to in section 55C(c) must be in writing and signed by the parliamentary leader concerned, and must—

      • (a) state that the parliamentary leader reasonably believes that the member of Parliament concerned has acted in a way that has distorted, and is likely to continue to distort, the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined at the last general election; and

      • (b) state that the parliamentary leader has delivered to the member of Parliament concerned written notice—

        • (i) informing the member that the parliamentary leader considers that paragraph (a) applies to the member and the reasons for that opinion; and

        • (ii) advising the member that he or she has 21 working days from the date of receiving the notice to respond to the matters raised in the notice by notice in writing addressed to the parliamentary leader; and

      • (c) state that, after consideration of the conduct of the member and his or her response (if any) by the parliamentary members of the political party for which the member was elected, the parliamentary leader of that party confirms that at least two-thirds of the parliamentary members of that party agree that written notice should be given by the parliamentary leader under section 55A(3)(b).

    55E Definitions
    • For the purposes of sections 55A to 55D, unless the context otherwise requires,—

      parliamentary leader, in relation to a political party, means—

      • (a) the member of Parliament recognised for the time being as the parliamentary leader of the political party by the majority of parliamentary members of that party; or

      • (b) the member of Parliament for the time being acting as the parliamentary leader of that party

      political party for which the member of Parliament was elected means—

      • (a) the political party in whose party list the member's name appeared at his or her election; or

      • (b) the political party identified as the political party for which the member is a candidate, in the nomination paper nominating the member as a constituency candidate, at his or her election.


  • 1 1993 No 87