Amendments to principal Act
Clause 4 amends section 5(1) by inserting a new definition and by changing the definition of nomination day to be 7 days earlier.
Clause 5 inserts new sections 19JA and 19JB. The new sections let a territorial authority make minor alterations to the boundaries of wards, communities, or subdivisions of communities, and let a regional council make minor alterations to the boundaries of constituencies, in certain situations. The requirements for an alteration include that there have been changes to the boundaries of allotments and that the alterations are required to improve the effective representation of communities of interest affected by those changes. The proposed boundary alterations must be referred to the Local Government Commission (the Commission), which must determine whether to uphold them.
Clause 6 amends section 19K to require a resolution under section 19H, 19I, or 19J that affects the next triennial general election of a territorial authority, regional council, or community board to be passed no earlier than 1 March of the year before the year of the election.
Clause 7 amends section 19V(3) by adding 2 more situations in which wards and subdivisions of a community may be defined, and membership distributed between them, in a way that does not comply with the fair representation requirement of section 19V(2). The situations are that compliance would limit effective representation of communities of interest either by dividing a community of interest between wards or subdivisions or by uniting within a ward or subdivision 2 or more communities of interest with few commonalities of interest. A territorial authority must now, like a regional council, refer to the Commission a decision not to comply with section 19V(2).
Clause 8 amends section 19Y to add requirements for the public notice of the basis for election at the next triennial general election of a territorial authority, regional council, or community board. The notice must specify the communities of interest considered by the territorial authority or regional council and specify the ratio of population to members for each ward, constituency, or subdivision, and the reasons for the determination of that number of members, and of those wards, constituencies, or subdivisions.
Clause 9 amends section 19ZI so that the Commission must also issue guidelines for territorial authorities or regional councils to take into account in making determinations under new sections 19JA and 19JB.
Clause 10 amends section 55 so that a candidate's nomination must not be accepted unless the electoral officer receives the nomination paper, the consent and certification, and the deposit all together.
Clause 11 amends section 59 consequentially on the replacement of provision for retirement with provision for cancellation of nomination.
Clause 12 amends section 61(2) to require that, if a candidate profile statement is provided, it must be provided together with the nomination paper and the other things required for nomination. Also, the candidate profile statement must now specify the candidate's principal place of residence in terms of the position to which the candidate seeks election and, if the candidate is seeking election to more than 1 position, must specify each position and state that the candidate is seeking to be elected to the positions.
Clause 13 amends the heading above section 69 consequentially on the replacement of provision for retirement with provision for cancellation of nomination.
Clause 14 replaces section 69 with new sections 69 and 69A and so replaces provision for retirement after the close of nominations with provision for cancellation of nomination after the close of nominations. Under new section 69, an application for cancellation of a nomination may be made to the electoral officer if the candidate becomes incapacitated after the close of nominations but before the close of voting. The application must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a medical practitioner. “Incapacitated” means that a candidate, because he or she is suffering from a serious illness or has sustained a serious injury, would be unlikely to be capable of performing the functions and duties of office if elected to the office. New section 69A provides for the electoral officer to process an application and to determine whether to cancel the candidate's nomination.
Clauses 15 and 16 amend sections 71 and 72 (respectively) consequentially on the replacement of provision for retirement with provision for cancellation of nomination.
Clause 17 inserts new section 73A to add a power to adjourn electoral processes, by Order in Council, in certain situations. The order may specify a later date for certain dates (such as nomination day or polling day) in respect of a triennial general election of members of 1 or more local authorities and community boards. Each date may be deferred by up to 6 weeks. Before recommending the making of an Order in Council, the Minister of Local Government must be satisfied that the order is necessary to ensure that the adverse effects of a local or national emergency do not deny electors a reasonable opportunity to cast a valid vote, nominate a candidate, or accept nomination as a candidate in relation to the election. The Minister must also have consulted every local authority and electoral officer that will be affected.
Clauses 18 and 19 amend sections 75(2) and 76(2) (respectively) to require voting documents to contain a warning describing certain offences that a person may commit in relation to a voting document or a related document.
Clause 20 repeals section 79 to remove provision for local authorities to determine by resolution that voting documents are to be processed during the voting period of an election or poll.
Clause 21 amends section 80 to provide that the electoral officer may, at his or her discretion, process voting documents received before the close of voting for an election or poll.
Clause 22 amends section 115 so that a candidate at a triennial general election who is declared to be elected comes into office on the day after the day on which the official result of the election is declared.