A stronger democracy is on the horizon, as Golriz Ghahraman’s Electoral (Strengthening Democracy) Amendment Bill was pulled from the biscuit tin today.
“New Zealand proudly has a strong democratic system, our MMP system is rightly representative,” says Golriz Ghahraman, spokesperson for electoral reform.
“In saying this, there is definitely room for improvement to ensure we have the best democratic system possible and that access is fair.
“Getting big money out of our democracy is important for the Green movement, as we have seen climate action impeded again and again by corporate interests around the globe.
“Successive governments have ignored issues with our electoral system and we already have independent recommendations from the Electoral Commission to fix these issues,” says Golriz Ghahraman.
The Electoral (Strengthening Democracy) Amendment Bill seeks reform in seven areas, including:
- Strengthening transparency and safeguards on donations to parties and candidates
- Enabling voters of Māori descent to change roll type at any time
- Extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds
- Overturning the prisoner voting ban and giving all people in prison the right to vote
- Removing the harmful requirement that New Zealand citizens have to return to Aotearoa every three years to keep their right to vote
- Implementing the 2012 MMP Review recommendations
“The issues covered by this Bill have been the subject of reviews, reports and submissions, by the Electoral Commission and other bodies. This Bill gives us an opportunity to strengthen our democracy this term rather than waiting years for an independent electoral review. That independent review could still take place as there are a large number of electoral issues in the draft terms of reference that sit outside this Bill.
“This Bill, if passed, would ensure that New Zealand is leading the way on the world stage when it comes to our democracy. Something all New Zealanders would be proud of.
“Our democracy is for everyone, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues across Parliament to progress this Bill through the House.”