Parliament has given a third reading to the Election Access Fund Bill. It will come into force on 1 July 2021.
The private members's bill was introduced by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick. Its stated purpose is to establish a fund designed to remove or reduce barriers to standing as a candidate in a general election or by-election which are faced by individuals as a consequence of their disability and which non-disabled individuals do not face.
The legislation requires the Electoral Commission to establish an Election Access Fund. The fund must be paid a general grant each year out of money appropriated by Parliament. The amount of the grant is to be determined by the Minister, taking into account the purpose of the Act.
The legislation sets out the guidelines and conditions under which the fund will operate.
An amendment to the legislation removed provision for a not for profit entity or political party to be eligible for a payment from the Fund. This is now only for a disabled person who is standing as a candidate in or seeking selection as a candidate in a general election or by-election.