Election Access Fund consultation survey

The first set of questions collects some personal information to give us a general understanding of the survey participants and how widely our consultation reached.

All information will be anonymised and combined into a summary of the participants.

All information you give the Electoral Commission will be accessed, collected, held, used, disclosed and disposed in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and the Public Records Act 2005.

We are collecting the information below so we can send you feedback on the survey findings and information about the Election Access Fund once it opens for applications.

Over the next few pages you will be asked questions about the Election Access Fund. Your answers will automatically save when you click through to the next page. You can click next or previous to navigate between pages.

The last question will ask if you have anything else to add and then your feedback will be submitted.

Your details
1. Are you responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation?

If you're responding on behalf of a group or organisation, please complete the information below.

Group or organisation details
2. Is your group a:
3. If your organisation is disability related, what type of impairment(s) is represented (optional)

If you are responding as an individual, please complete the details below.

Your details
4. Do you have an Impairment? (optional)
5. What type(s) of impairments are represented? (optional)
6. Are you, or is someone from your group, interested in applying to this fund? This will help give us an idea of how many people might apply.

The next set of questions outlines some proposals about how the Election Access Fund might operate. Some of these questions are based on the Election Access Fund legislation. Please read each proposal carefully and let us know what you think.

In order to apply to the Election Access Fund applicants will be required to briefly explain who they are and why they are applying. They will then be invited to a one-on-one meeting with someone from the Electoral Commission who will work with them to complete a detailed application, which will go to a panel for decision.

This process is designed to ensure that applicants are fully aware of the support they can apply for, that all the information needed is gathered, and that we accommodate the person’s needs in the application process.

7. Do you agree with this approach?

In order to access the Election Access Fund, the law says an applicant must:

  • be either standing as a candidate in the general election or a by-election, or seeking selection as a candidate, and
  • be a disabled person, and
  • be facing barriers that non-disabled people do not face in seeking selection or running as a candidate.

The Electoral Commission needs to develop an approach that gives effect to the law.  People who meet the rules we decide to use, will progress to the next stage of the application process.

The Electoral Commission’s proposed approach to “seeking selection” is when the person has notified their party secretary that they intend to do so (this can be done in confidence).

Our proposed definition of a “candidate” is a person who has publicly declared themselves a candidate or a party has declared them a candidate. They would also need to meet the legal requirements to become a candidate (must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, over 18 and eligible to enrol).

8. Do you agree with the proposed approach to Criteria 1?

We are proposing we use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) definition of  a “disabled person” to include “those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others…” (Article 1)

9. Do you agree with the proposed approach to Criteria 2?

Applicants for the Fund could make a legal declaration that they are eligible because they are facing barriers that non-disabled people do not face in seeking selection or running as a candidate. We are interested in views on whether further evidence should be required, like providing a letter, reference or recent invoice from a support service, advocacy group or organisation.

10. Which of these is your preferred option?

Should third parties (e.g., occupational therapist, support provider) be involved in providing information about support needs?

11. Do you agree with this?

To allocate funding to applicants, the Commission is proposing two rounds of funding. The first round would be in September/October 2022, the second in February/March 2023:

  • Round 1 is to support people in the process of seeking selection as candidates for registered political parties.
  • Round 2 is for candidates seeking funding for election campaigning activities (including candidates of registered parties, unregistered parties and independents).
12. Do you agree with the proposed approach to fund timing?

The purpose of funding under the Election Access Fund is to remove or reduce cost barriers to standing as a candidate in a general election or a by-election faced by individuals as a consequence of their disability and which non-disabled individuals do not face. The Fund will enable the Commission to pay for additional costs that candidates incur as a result of their disability when organising and preparing to stand for Parliamentary elections.

This means funding will not include costs that all candidates have to pay, like designing advertising, printing leaflets, or venue hire.  It may not cover all costs that political parties are required to provide in order to support candidates, for example the cost of providing accessible venues.

Funding could cover costs for reducing barriers faced as a consequence of a disability in relation to these activities:

  • For selection, taking part in formal party activities needed to get yourself known and then seek selection (e.g., party committees, branch meetings, pre-selection party meetings, selection events and conferences)
  • For campaigning, all candidate activities needed to promote yourself to voters (e.g., candidate meetings, transport, and campaigning)

Supports could include:

  • Technological support – e.g., specialist equipment, software, spell checking, speech to text, voice recorders (most will need to be hired and returned)
  • Communications support – alternate formats e.g., easy read translation, sign language interpreters
  • Assistance – e.g., training, personal assistant support, note takers
  • Transport and accommodation – e.g., accessible transport to events or meetings

Once an applicant is confirmed eligible to receive funding, the Commission needs to be able to get funding to the applicant so they can access the services or provisions they need.

The Commission’s proposed approach is to tailor payment methods to suit an applicant's needs. This could mean a combination of payment methods, including

  • paying invoices directly to suppliers of goods and services,
  • paying up front,
  • providing a payment card, with funds pre-loaded for paying for smaller, regular costs (e.g., transport)
  • reimbursing an applicant after they pay for an expense.

For all these methods, an applicant will need to gather and provide invoices and or receipts to the Commission and give back unspent money.

This fund is only for candidates who want to run in parliamentary general elections or by-elections. Many candidates will be members of political parties. 

Parties may be able to offer information about what will be required to seek selection and what campaigning is likely to look like.

Not everyone will want to involve their party.

15. Do you think we should talk to an applicant's political party when assessing applications or tailoring support?

It is important to have assurance and accountability for how the Fund is spent.

Funding decisions for applicants will be made by a panel. The Electoral Commission’s proposed panel makeup will comprise a mix of disabled people and Electoral Commission staff with expertise in rules for candidates and elections.

17. Do you agree with the proposed makeup of the applications panel?
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