Head of State Referenda Bill

  • defeated on 21 April 2010

Explanatory note

This Bill provides for the holding of 2 referenda on proposals to reconsider the matter of New Zealand’s head of State.

The first referendum is taken on proposals to determine the matter of New Zealand’s head of State. If one of the three proposals receives a majority vote, that proposal will be implemented. If a majority of votes in this referendum are for the proposal to retain the present head of State, there will be no further referendum. If not, the two options receiving the highest number of votes will be subject to a final, binding referendum.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title of the Bill.

Clause 2 provides for the Bill to come into force the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent, with the exceptions of those that will come into force following declarations by the House of Representatives and the Returning Officer regarding results of the referenda.

Clause 3 sets out the purpose of the Bill which is to provide for the holding of 2 referenda on proposals to reconsider the matter of New Zealand’s head of State.

Clause 4 defines terms used in the Bill.

Clause 5 states that this Act binds the Crown.

Clause 6 states that a referendum (the ‘first referendum’) will take place in conjunction with the next general election on the proposals contained in this Bill.

Clause 7 sets out how the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 relate to the conduct of the first referendum.

Clause 8 states that the first referendum will be conducted using the resources of the general election.

Clause 9 sets out how electors in favour of the proposal may nominate scrutineers.

Clause 10 sets out how nominations for scrutineers are to be lodged.

Clause 11 sets out how scrutineers will be appointed.

Clause 12 states that the selection of scrutineers will be signed by the Returning Officer.

Clause 13 states that persons selected to be scrutineers must also sign papers.

Clause 14 sets out the powers and rights of scrutineers.

Clause 15 states that any remuneration of scrutineers must not be paid out of money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose of conducting the first referendum.

Clause 16 sets out the method of voting.

Clause 17 sets out the procedure for spoilt ballot papers.

Clause 18 sets out which voting papers will be rejected as informal.

Clause 19 states the procedure for the declaration of result of first referendum.

Clause 20 sets out the procedure for a vote recount.

Clause 21 sets out the procedure for the declaration of the results of the first referendum following the elapse of the time of application for recount.

Clause 22 states how sections of Electoral Act 1993 apply to a petition for inquiry under this Bill.

Clause 23 sets out the procedure for a petition for inquiry into the results of the first referendum.

Clause 24 states that the Court must determine whether the result of the referendum is void at the conclusion of the trial of a petition for an inquiry.

Clause 25 states that if a referendum is declared void, a new one must take place in the same manner within 30 working days.

Clause 26 makes attempts to interfere with or influence voters on the day of the referendum an offence.

Clause 27 provides the Returning Officer power to remove statements, names, emblems, slogans, or logos that attempt to influence voters on the day of referendum.

Clause 28 makes obtaining other people’s voting papers, and retaining one’s own voting papers after leaving the polling booth, an offence.

Clause 29 provides powers to the Governor-General, by Order in Council, to make regulations within the purpose of this Act to apply certain provisions of the Electoral Act 1993, and other provisions concerning methods of obtaining special votes.

Clause 30 states that within 12 months a further referendum (the ‘second referendum’) must be held on the two options for head of State that polled the most votes in the first referendum

Clause 31 states that the wording of the voting paper to be put to electors in the second referendum is specified by the Governor-General by Order in Council.

Clause 32 states that the referendum roll used for the second referendum must be the same as that used for the first referendum.

Clause 33 provides for the implementation of the result of the second referendum.

Clause 34 states that the provisions of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000 apply for the purposes of the second referendum.

Clause 35 sets out consequential amendments and repeals.

Clause 36 sets out the process by which the House of Representatives appoints the head of State.

Clause 37 sets out the processes which occur if no nomination for head of State receives 75% or more of votes cast.

Clause 38 states that the Clerk of the House of Representatives must declare the final decision of the House of Representatives by notification in the Gazette.

Clause 39 states that the head of State holds office for a period not exceeding 5 years.

Clause 40 states that on the expiry of the term of office of the head of State, a subsequent head of State must be appointed by resolution of the House of Representatives.

Clause 41sets out the processes for nomination of candidates for election of head of State.

Clause 42 states that every elector is qualified to be nominated as a candidate for the election of head of State.

Clause 43 states that the nomination paper must be lodged with the Chief Electoral Officer not less than 30 days before the date fixed for the election of head of State.

Clause 44 states that the provisions of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000, with any necessary modifications, apply for the purposes of the election of head of State.

Clause 45 states that the head of State election must be conducted by the Single Transferable Voting electoral system (STV) using Meek’s method of counting votes.

Clause 46 sets out which voting papers must be rejected by the Returning Officer as informal.

Clause 47 states that the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000 applies for the purposes of counting the votes and dealing with vote papers, and that the Returning Officer must declare the result of the election by giving public and Gazette notice of the results.

Clause 48 states that the head of State elected holds office for a period not exceeding 5 years.

Clause 49 states that on expiry of the term of office of the head of State, a subsequent head of State must be elected by electors in accordance with the necessary provisions of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000.

Clause 50 sets out how electors in favour of the proposal may nominate scrutineers.

Clause 51 sets out how nominations for scrutineers are to be lodged.

Clause 52 sets out how scrutineers will be appointed.

Clause 53 states that the selection of scrutineers will be signed by the Returning Officer.

Clause 54 states that persons selected to be scrutineers must also sign papers.

Clause 55 states that the powers and rights of scrutineers are the same as those of scutineers under the Electoral Act 1993.

Clause 56 states that any remuneration of scrutineers must not be paid out of money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose of conducting a head of State referendum.

Clause 57 sets out the procedure for a vote recount.

Clause 58 sets out how sections of Electoral Act 1993 apply to a petition for inquiry under this Bill.

Clause 59 sets out the procedure for a petition for inquiry into the results of the head of State referendum.

Clause 60 states that the Court must determine whether the result of the referendum is void at the conclusion of the trial of a petition for an inquiry.

Clause 61 states that if a referendum is declared void, a new one must take place in the same manner within 30 working days.

Clause 62 sets out the maximum amount of candidate election expenses.

Clause 63 states that certain provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 apply as if a return by a constituency candidate were a return by a head of State candidate.

Clause 64 sets out the rules regarding publicity for election of head of State

Clause 65 states that certain parts of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000 apply as if the election of head of State were a referendum held under this Act.

Clause 66 states that the rights conferred and obligations imposed by the Treaty of Waitangi continue as if this Act had not been passed.

Schedule 1 sets out consequential amendments to other enactments.

Schedule 2 gives an example of the Head of State reconsideration voting paper to be used in the first referendum.

Schedule 3 gives examples of relevant forms for scrutineers and returning officers for the first referendum.

Schedule 4 gives an example of the form for a petition for inquiry as to result of first referendum on options for head of State.

Schedule 5 gives an example of the paper for nomination of candidate for head of State election.

Schedule 6 gives a general description of the STV system.

Schedule 7 gives an example of the voting paper for the election of head of State.

Schedule 8 gives examples of relevant forms for scrutineers and returning officers for the election of the head of State.

Schedule 9 gives an example of the form for petition for inquiry as to result of election of head of State.