The Election Access Fund established by a Green Party members’ bill opened for submissions this week, showing positive progress towards more accessible elections.
Originally drafted by former Green MP Mojo Mathers, the Members’ Bill was picked up and progressed by Chlöe Swarbrick. The Bill passed Third Reading in Parliament in early 2020.
“When our elections are not accessible to all, we cannot pretend our democracy is as representative as it should be. That is the point of the Election Access Fund. To make its implementation as useful and successful as possible, we must ensure disabled people shape it - which is why these submissions are so important,” says Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick.
“While the Green Party sought inclusion of local body elections throughout the progress of the Bill, it was clear there was only so much a Member’s Bill could do, unfortunately.
“This points to a broader need to overhaul the complex and at times inequitable Local Body election processes, which not only don’t have access to this fund currently but also, for example, enable landowners to vote in multiple regions.
“We encourage submissions, particularly from those with lived experience, to strengthen equity and representation as facilitated through the Election Access Fund.
“We made sure that the allocation of the Fund would be directed by a Steering Group with participation from people from the disability community. We will be keeping a close eye on this progress.”