Two bills have received a third reading in Parliament.
Electoral Amendment Bill
The Electoral Amendment Bill amends the Electoral Act 1993 and the Electoral Regulations 1996. It makes a number of changes to the voting process, most of which will be in place for the 2020 General Election.
The bill will come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 4 amends section 60 of the Electoral Act 1993 and allows voters to enrol or update their enrolment details on election day. Section 139 of the Act has been amended by clause 11, to allow the Electoral Commission to process election day enrolments by extending the latest date for the return of the writ from 50 to 60 days after writ day.
Clause 16 amends section 174 and allows votes to be moved from a voting place to another area designated as such by the Electoral Commission for the conduct of a preliminary count of votes. Until now, election-day votes have had to be counted at the voting place.
Clause 6 amends section 88 to allow any voter who enrols after writ day and whose name is on an electronic roll to be able to cast an ordinary vote rather than a special vote.
Clause 5 amends section 83 to allow special vote declarations to be treated as applications to enrol or update details.
Clause 14 creates a new section 155A which allows any licensed premises to be appointed as a polling place, as long as alcohol is not available where voting papers are issued and access is available through a place where alcohol is not being consumed.
Clause 17 replaces section 195 with provisions relating to voting and vote counting where there are polling disruptions.
Ombudsman (Protection of Name) Amendment Bill
The Ombudsman (Protection of Name) Amendment Bill restricts the use of the name “Ombudsman” to an Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, or to a person appointed to a position established by the Chief Ombudsman, or a public sector department or organisation approved by the Minister of Justice.
The purpose of the bill is to protect the integrity of the role of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, and the unique place they hold in New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements.
The legislation will come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent