Below are some frequently asked questions on the Election Access Fund. If you have further questions on the Fund or the application process, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 36 76 56.
Can my political party or a friend or whānau member help me apply?
Yes, we want it to be as easy as possible. You can have someone help you fill in your form, or you can meet with us and we will help you, or you can meet with us and bring someone along with you.
What if I need disability assistance to apply?
Please tell us what assistance you need and we may be able to help. For example, if you need a NZ Sign Language interpreter to assist you at your meeting with us, we can arrange and pay for that.
How long do I have to wait for my application to be approved?
Once your application is complete it gets discussed by the panel and then the Electoral Commission makes a decision. This should take no more than 2-3 weeks.
How soon can I get the equipment and support I need?
Once your funding agreement is signed, we suggest you start booking in the equipment and/or support you are funded for. It will be up to you to find the equipment and services yourself.
What if I have a disability but not a formal diagnosis?
You do not need to have a formal diagnosis. When you apply you will need to sign a legal declaration saying you meet the criteria for funding – including that you have a disability.
What if I have more expensive needs than other people?
People’s costs will be different depending on their needs, the type of activities they are doing and things like how much travel they will be doing. We will take this into account. When you apply, you can list all the things you think you will need.
What if I am in a rural area where I have to travel further and it’s harder to get services?
We expect there to be a higher need for transport support costs in large and rural areas. When you are filling in your form, we suggest you think of everything you might need disability support for, including travel. This might include transport for people who are assisting you, to get to venues and home again. It might also include getting equipment from outside your area sent to you. The Fund can cover transport support costs like these.
Is there a funding limit?
There is a limit of $50,000 total funding for a person, per election or by-election. For very high-cost applications we may ask for extra supporting information.
My condition varies and sometimes I need more assistance than at other times. Will the Fund be flexible?
Yes. When you are filling in your form try to think of everything you might need support for. Remember you can contact us to ask questions and we can meet with you. There will be flexibility in the amounts available to you. If your support needs turn out to be lower than what you applied for you will return any unspent funds. If you need more than what you applied for, you can apply for additional funds.
Will the Electoral Commission help me to get the services and equipment I need?
You will need to contact suppliers to get equipment or services yourself. The Fund only covers the costs of the equipment or services. We have a database of services and equipment providers we can share with you, but it will be up to you to choose. You may also choose providers that are not on our list.
Can a family member be my assistant or support person?
Yes, if this is who you prefer. The rate per hour will need to be reasonable, and we have guidance on this. Your assistant will need to keep good records of their service.
What if more things come up that I didn’t know about when I applied?
Get in touch with us as soon as possible if you think you will need additional support. Depending on what it is, we may be able to adjust your agreement, or we may need to take it back to the panel to discuss.
If something comes up at short notice like an unplanned candidate meeting that isn’t in my budget, can I pay for it and get reimbursed?
There will be some flexibility in your agreement so that things that come up can be paid for out of your grant money even if you didn’t know about it when you applied. If your funding is getting low and you know some things are coming up, contact us so that extra funding can be considered.
What do I do if my equipment needs to be repaired or replaced?
You will need to gather information on what needs to be done and likely cost, then contact us as soon as you can so we can help with costs.
What if I go to an event and the host already has the assistance I need (like a NZSL interpreter)?
You will need to check before events what assistance is available. If you need to cancel a booking you have made, you might still have to pay. This will come from your funding so it is best you know ahead of time.
Will the Fund pay for help to prepare my report to show how I have spent the money?
We will not pay for someone to do this for you, but we can pay for help if you need it due to your disability, for example if you need a reader or writer. Please contact us if you think you need this.
What if I pull out or don’t get selected or nominated? Do I have to repay the money?
You don’t repay any money already spent, as long as the funding was used for what was agreed. You will need to pay back any money you have not spent.
What if I want to stand again in the next election? And the one after that? Is there a limit?
There is no limit on how often you can access the Fund. You will need to apply again for each election or by-election. Please note that the way the Fund runs may change over time. The information we need and the application process may be different if you apply again.
What happens if I get into Parliament? Will the Fund pay for my access needs?
No, the fund covers access needs before an election. If you become a member of Parliament, a relationship manager from Parliamentary Service will be in contact with you just after the General Election. You will be able to discuss your access needs at this time to ensure you have the support you need.
Do I or does my party have to declare what I have received from the Fund? Is a return required?
No. You don’t have to file a public return. You do have to show us how you spent the money in your reports, but we won’t publish it.
Can I use the equipment or services I get through the Fund for other purposes?
You should only use the equipment and services for selection or campaigning as per your agreement with us. It is really important that funding for an access need is not instead spent on something that gives an unfair political advantage. Your agreement will say if you can keep equipment after election day or if you must return it to us.
Can I apply if I am not living in New Zealand right now?
Yes. You will need to explain your situation and we may ask for more supporting information.