The Green Party welcomes the review of New Zealand’s electoral laws as chance to make elections fairer and more accessible.
However, a new review should not delay the implementation of measures that experts have already said we need to take in order to improve our democracy.
This includes the adoption of the 2012 MMP review’s recommendations, as well as the pressing need to extend voting rights to Kiwis stuck overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Government should take steps to ensure the review itself and subsequent recommendations is not politicised. Were this to happen it would risk eroding people’s trust in the process and hinder the chances of an outcome that leads to a fairer, more accessible democracy,” Green Party electoral reform spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said.
“Our Democracy is too precious to leave to the vested interest of politicians. We’ve seen successive governments receive detailed important recommendations on electoral reform and ignore them. There’s no need to kick the can even further down the road.
“We need to adopt the 2012 MMP review wholesale without cherry picking. My proposed Electoral (Strengthening Democracy) Amendment Bill would do just that.”
The Green Party supports the Government’s intention to allow Māori to change between the General and Māori rolls more easily, and to make political donations more transparent this term.
“We hope the reform of electoral finance rules will include drastic changes to the inadequate transparency and limits on big money donations. The current lack of clarity over these rules led to three out of the five political parties in the last Parliament facing investigation.
“Reliance on large political donations can slow action on environmental protection and issues that affect our most vulnerable communities. Kiwis deserve to know who is making financial contributions in the hope of shaping our democracy and the decisions it makes.
“We look forward to providing input into the Terms of Reference for the review. It needs to be led by independent experts, and include community consultation and meaningful engagement with Māori.
“Engagement with political parties as suggested by the Minister is important, but the will of those with establishment power has only ever slowed change on this style of reform.
“One thing that can be done immediately is to extend voting rights to Kiwis stuck overseas due to the pandemic.”
The Green Party will continue to work hard with the government to ensure a thriving, accessible democracy for all New Zealanders.