In October 2021, the Government announced that it will review New Zealand’s electoral laws by way of:
- Targeted changes to support the delivery of, and participation in the 2023 General Election, and
- A wider Independent Review of electoral laws ahead of the 2026 General Election.
In December the Ministry of Justice issued a consultation a paper on proposed changes to political donation rules which included aspects related to reporting and assurance.
In our submission, we highlighted that the short timeframe of the targeted review means only narrow scope amendments can really be considered, which will not necessarily achieve the objectives and remedy the root causes of the problems that have been identified regarding donations to political parties. In our view a more comprehensive approach to the governance arrangements (including internal controls) of political parties and regulatory oversight/enforcement are more likely to improve transparency and integrity, and we understand these kinds of measures will potentially be considered through the Independent Review.
The next step with the Independent Review is for the Government to put together a review panel. The panel is expected report back by late 2023 with recommendations for longer-term change.