Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill – Third reading – Part 2

I commend these bills to the house thank you question is the motion be agreed to mr. speaker just cinder aunty Thank You mr. speaker Mr Speaker I want to start by thanking the Minister for his guidance in this last phase of this bill and he's absolutely correct that what's been really important in our discussion around electoral laws generally is to try and build as much consensus as we are able to do because it benefits no one if people don't have confidence in our electoral laws and our accountability structures around our electoral system and so on there was a unanimous select committee report with recommendations based on the inquiry into the 2014 general election but that's not to say they weren't areas where we would have preferred to have seen greater progress and I do want to talk about those those lost opportunities because we would still like to see and the next round of reforms these things picked up because we think they are blockage to people's participation in our system if i were to talk about the first of those opportunities we have a situation where we have a growing number of people who are who are not engaging with our electoral system whether it's those who enroll but then don't vote or those who don't even choose to enroll it is so however incumbent on us that we try and remove as many barriers as possible administrative lee and some might even say when it comes to accessing a ballot box itself I don't believe we're doing that at the moment if I were to walk you through for instance mr.

Speaker the process which I know you know all too well the process for enrolling and voting it becomes very obvious with some of our issues lai lai for instance of course you must be on the electoral roll before you can vote in there being on the electoral roll itself is compulsory if however you do not get on the electoral roll roughly four weeks before an election you will not be on the printed roll that means if anyone if you go to enroll before election day and it's within that four week period and you fill in an enrollment form and send it off to the Electoral Commission when you walk in to a voting booth you will not be there on the printed role in front of them that means that you're likely to be told to fill in a special vote form if you do not fill in that special vote form one hundred percent accurately in comparison to the electoral roll you felt in your vote will not be counted there is however if you manage to get that enrollment form in at least before voting day if you go into a ballot box to vote and you're an advanced coding period you can fill in an enrollment form while you're there then fill in a special vote form while you're there and then cast a vote if when filling in those two forms you do not get them absolutely accurately correct and comparison to each other your vote will not count one simple thing we could have done and it would have made sense if you walk into a booth and you are not in its advance voting and you are not on the roll get them to fill in one form one form a special vote form that acts as an enrollment form there's no room for error and that there's also no room for me to walk in and say look I'm not on the electoral roll but I'm sure I filled in an enrollment form so i won't bother with that I'll just do a special vote now the reason we know that some of this is happening is because last election guess how many individuals walked into a ballot box at felt in a full protect they voted they took the time out of their day to go and vote they made the effort but there was something wrong either with this special vote in the enrollment form any vote does not count how many votes I you know I'm going to tell you mr.

Naylor twenty seven thousand votes twenty seven thousand votes were discounted where people were disenfranchised because there was some administrative issue with either their enrollment or some of the form filling that lead up to the evolved surely it would be in our best interest to remove some of those issues so the first thing we tried to propose and we thought that we've got the Select Committee on the right place on we're simply combining in a row look for- visual boat forum simple so simple why would we not agree to that the second point it is now possible to walk into a booth and enroll and vote at the same time during an advanced voting period and you do not have to have to sign a form to give a valid you know reason about being out of town or working in order to do that that's why roughly thirty percent of New Zealanders are voting early it's great we should encourage that its participation however there is some confusion over the fact you can do that right up until the Friday before the election but something magically changes with our system where it somehow becomes inappropriate on the day itself to fill an enrollment form in a voting form at the same time what that magical thing is that makes it an appropriate within that 12-hour period is not exactly clear now I say that because we raised it in silly comedy why can you not enroll and vote at the same time on Election Day why not because that means everyone who walked into a booth and was found not to be on the role could simply fill in an enrollment form and have their say surely that should be out doing inspiration we still I don't think have adequate reasons they used to be arguments around the integrity of the role I think that is diminished over time we we have proven would be advanced voting we've done now that it is possible to maintain the integrity of the role our literal fraud is minuscule in New Zealand minuscule and in fact the increases that we've seen which are still minor are thought to be down to the longer periods of advanced voting that we have now on the confusion that does cause for some some voters so those are and one final and other additional thought was on the marty electoral option it's our view and the view of our our Maori caucus in particular that we should have the ability for someone who is on the Marty roll that if they would like to either change from general de morir or moldy did you know they should have that option once within a three year period rather than the off cycle that we have at the moment so we at the moment we're looking at doing then 2020 I that's an unfortunate delay and we could have resolved at this time round but what about the things we do agree on and there were plenty of those in the bill and we did want to give the Electoral Commission the ability to provide to use new methods of providing information to elect doors in addition to post it may be surprised people that we are that prescriptive and our legislation that we are and we also for instance are quite prescriptive around form-filling so giving the literal Commission the ability to go away and so what is going to be best for voters in terms of making these things comprehensible and giving them that freedom also allowing the Electoral Commission we're in a lictor has informed them of a change of River residents to a different electorate to allow enrollment which will take effect after one a calendar month from the moon days so I've had this happen to me I was so eager when I move that I filled in a new enrollment form and but I hadn't lived there for a month and so I got a letter back from the electric Commission saying sorry we can't enrolled you you haven't been there for four weeks there wasn't near the ability to then just simply acknowledge that and from the one-month period make it make it kick in so that were quite dispiriting I imagine if you've got one of those engine and didn't follow through the process who knows whether someone would follow up and these other various things around allowing a literal officials to use online electronic roll look up allowing the Electoral Commission to look at advanced voting counting all things that do make a good common sense and clarifying mr.

Speaker there in particular clarifying once section 199 a to cover material first published or actively republish promoted or distributed on Election Day for two preceding days on for instance social media so we we had this issue where someone might have put something that usually would have required a promoter statement clearly net electro advertisement and that actually might just stay in someone's feed on the day itself even though it wasn't posted outside the law so clarifying what the in our intent is there to keep pace with a modern electoral environment on broadcasting it makes sense what we've done with opening closing broadcast it makes sense to say an allocation needs to remain but we need to give flexibility to political parties as to how they use that allocation and all of the parties agreed with that the idea that people sit down for you know 30 minutes spots to watch a long broadcast it's just it's not consumable it's not the way people consume media it removes flexibility and so excuse me I may have not spoken for reporting there's certainly labels of the view that we needed to move away from that form and allow multi platform as well not just screen for those broadcasts because that is where the electoral our voting and public is so all in August are missed opportunities with this bill more we would have liked to have seen done ultimately our goal should be to ensure that everyone takes up the opportunity to use the democratic voice through our electoral process it should be incumbent on us to maintain transparent rules and regulations but to do as much as we can to encourage voter engagement so while we agree with what's got what we've got here today we disagree with what is being removed in the lost opportunity that's the speaker John oh no

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