New rules not expected to affect much here

Changes to the rules for local body elections including a $1500 cap on anonymous donations and requirements for information provided by nominees are not expected to have a huge impact on the process in Dunedin.

Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and Southern District Health Board electoral officer Pam Jordan said new provisions of the Local Electoral Act were intended to streamline the nomination process, improve the quality and availability of information about candidates and tighten and increase transparency about campaign donations.

The Act passed last week and took effect last Saturday.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has said the move was unlikely to have a major influence on local body elections in Dunedin next year, given the small part donations played in financing previous campaigns.

All in all, the changes were positive, he said this week. SDHB deputy chairman Paul Menzies said he could also not imagine the cap would be a huge issue for nominees for the health board.

He said he could not imagine any candidate would have spent more than $1000 on their campaign last time - he himself filed a return of $50, he said.

''It's more of a thing for the big boys in Auckland.''

He could not see any far-reaching implications of any of the changes.


Election changes
New provisions of the Local Electoral Act include. -
• Opening and closing of nominations brought forward by a week. Nominations open July 19 and close noon August 16.
• Candidates must lodge all nomination documents together (i.e. nomination paper, $200 deposit, 150-word profile and photo, and for DHB candidates, a conflict of interest statement).
• Candidates must state whether their principal place of residence is or is not within the area for which they are standing - this will be included in the candidate profile booklet.
• Candidates must state whether they are standing for any other positions in the triennial election (anywhere in New Zealand) - this will be included in the candidate profile booklet.
• Anonymous donations above $1500 not allowed.
• Candidate profiles will be publicly available earlier.
• Candidate expenditure returns will be available electronically.


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