Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick is stoked that her Election Access Fund Bill was pulled from the Members’ Ballot today.
If passed, the Bill will establish a new contestable fund to be overseen by the Electoral Commission. People with disabilities who wish to run as election candidates will be able to apply for money from the fund, to make the electoral process more accessible; for example a profoundly deaf candidate could apply and use the money to hire a sigh language interpreter to be at debates. Additionally, NGOs and political parties will be able to apply for funding to make their materials and processes more accessible to disabled New Zealanders.
“I took this Bill over from former Green MP Mojo Mathers and I am so thrilled that all the work she did to improve the lives of New Zealanders with disabilities is coming to fruition,” said Ms Swarbrick.
“I want to pay tribute to Mojo, and all of the NGOs and advocacy groups who are fighting for the rights of disabled New Zealanders every single day. I’m looking forward to working even closer with them over the coming weeks and months, and I hope they’ll all come in behind this Bill.
“If this Bill passes into law, it will mean that New Zealanders living with disabilities will be able to participate more fully in politics and elections – as a voter, or as a candidate.
“That means we’ll have more New Zealanders with disabilities running as candidates, voting, and actively participating in our political processes.
“This Bill will strengthen and enrich our democracy as a whole, which can only be a good thing.
“For a country that prides itself on inclusivity, we have some way to go to ensure that disabled members of our community are represented and heard.
“I’m confident that this Bill is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the House to bring it into law,” said Ms Swarbrick.