Supplementary Order Paper No 69

No 69

House of Representatives

Supplementary Order Paper

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill

Proposed amendment

Golriz Ghahraman, in Committee, to move the following amendment:

Schedule 6

In Schedule 6, after Part 2 (page 35, after line 16), insert:

Part 2A Electoral Act 1993

5A Amendment to Electoral Act 1993

This Part amends the Electoral Act 1993.

5B Section 80 amended (Disqualifications for registration)

After section 80(3), insert:

(4)

In calculating the period in subsection (1)(a), any time—

(a)

that occurs while an epidemic notice is in force; and

(b)

in respect of which the Chief Electoral Officer reasonably believes that travel to New Zealand is disrupted—

is to be disregarded.

Explanatory note

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted an issue with voting eligibility laws for those New Zealand citizens residing overseas. Under section 80(1)(a) of the Electoral Act, New Zealand citizens must have been in New Zealand within the last 3 years in order to vote. This existing provision does not take into account the disruption to travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have tried to return New Zealand have found it difficult due to limits on MIQ capacity and they may also be limited by the cost of MIQ charges that apply to many. This SOP would put in place a future-proofed exception to the requirement that New Zealand citizens have to have returned every 3 years. It does this by enabling the Chief Electoral Officer, when an epidemic notice is in force, to determine that travel to New Zealand is disrupted and therefore that time period should not count towards the 3-year calculation. The effect of this is that New Zealand citizens who have been in New Zealand sometime from 25 March 2017 (3 years before the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 came into force) on would be eligible to vote in general or local elections held while the notice is in force and while travel is disrupted.