The New Zealand Aged Care Association is seeking legal advice
on whether its members have to assist dementia and
psychogeriatric residents to enrol to vote.
Chief executive Martin Taylor said there were practical and
ethical problems with dementia and psychogeriatric patients
voting, and he felt it was a legal oversight they had not
been exempted from enrolling.
People under certain mental health legal orders were exempt,
but many dementia and psychogeriatric patients were not
subject to such orders.
Prompted by a complaint from a member, Mr Taylor contacted
the Electoral Commission and was told facilities had a duty
to assist. The issue had not cropped up before in Mr Taylor's
time as head of the organisation, spanning four election
''I think [the Electoral Commission's] time is better spent
elsewhere. It's about the application of scarce resources.''
With numbers of dementia patients increasing, the issue could
One of the things the association wanted to determine was
where liability for non-enrolment of residents fell.
Electoral Commission enrolment services national manager
Murray Wicks said, when contacted, the commission had not
changed its policy on enforcing the law.
''They are a group who are eligible to be enrolled to vote
and we are helping and assisting them to do so.
''We assist everyone who is eligible to vote and some people
require more assistance than others.''
About 89% of the population was enrolled. The commission
aimed to achieve about 94% enrolment before the September 20