Political funding in New Zealand
Only quite recently (1993, 2009) political funding in New Zealand has become an issue of public policy. Now there is direct and indirect funding by public money as well as a skeleton regulation of income, expenditure and transparency.
Regulation and enforcement
Like a few other established democracies (e.g. Canada and the United Kingdom) New Zealand election law stipulates statutory limits for political spending by individuals, groups or organisations that occurs at election times to influence political discourse in general or the outcome of a specific election in particular. In New Zealand spending limits for political parties and candidates (i.e. their campaign spending) do not include some typical election expenses (e.g. opinion polling, travel costs, consultancy fees).
Political contributions by foreign donors are allowed as long as they do not exceed NZD 1,500. There is no other limit to any political contribution made to parties and/ or candidates, either for election campaign or during specific time periods. Donations by government contractors (and possibly by state-owned enterprises) are allowed, too.
Parties and candidates have to file financial reports ('donation statements') that do not cover expenses, just source of revenue. A return must be filed by a party secretary with the Electoral Commission within 10 working days of receipt whenever a party receives a donation that: exceeds $30,000, or when added to all the donations received from the same donor in the preceding 12 months exceeds $30,000.
Sources of funds
As political parties in New Zealand only need to declare private donations which exceed $30,000NZD over a period of 12 months there is no way to tell the absolute total of donations to each party. The Electoral Commission of New Zealand does, however, have data on declared donations from 1996 – 2017.
The Electoral Commission of New Zealand is required under Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act 1989 to allocate money appropriated by Parliament to enable all registered political parties to broadcast election programmes and election advertising during the election period for a general election (‘the broadcasting allocation’).
On 21 February, in accordance with section 74, the Associate Minister of Justice notified the Commission that the amount of money appropriated by Parliament to enable political parties to fund their broadcasting of election programmes and election advertising for the 2017 general election is $3,605,000 plus GST ($4,145,750 incl GST). This is a $750,000 increase on the amount allocated in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Section 78(1) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 specifies that a party is only eligible to receive an allocation if it has provided a notice of qualification by the date required by the Commission that the party considers it will be qualified for an allocation; and the party was registered on the Register of Political Parties at the time of the dissolution or expiry of Parliament.
Parties may use the allocation to buy advertising time on television and radio, place advertising on the internet and pay for the production costs of television, radio and internet advertising. The Act prohibits parties from using their own money to buy time to broadcast television and radio advertisements. However, production costs for television and radio advertising can be paid for using the allocation or a party’s own funds. Television and radio advertisements can only be broadcast from writ day.
Parties may use the allocation to produce election advertisements and to place advertising on the internet before and after writ day. However, parties must use their own money to place election advertisements on the internet that only appear before writ day. Parties may use their allocation to produce internet advertisements, but parties must publish these advertisements both before and after writ day
- Political finance
- Political party funding
- Political funding in Australia
- Party funding in Austria
- Federal political financing in Canada
- Party finance in Germany
- Political funding in Ireland
- Party funding in Israel
- Political funding in Japan
- Party funding in the Netherlands
- Party finance in Sweden
- Political funding in the United Kingdom
- Campaign finance in the United States
- "Electoral Act 1993". Parliamentary Cousel Office. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
- "Publications | International IDEA". www.idea.int. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- Geddis, Andrew: 'Rethinking the Funding of New Zealand's Election Campaigns', Policy Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 7; Geddis, Andrew: 'The Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill', Policy Quarterly, vol. 6, no.3, 2010, p. 6.
- "Donations Exceeding $30,000". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- "Party Donations by Year". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- "Broadcasting Act 1989". Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
- "Broadcasting Allocations". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
Edwards, Bryce: 'Political Finance and Inequality in New Zealand', New Zealand Sociology, vol. 23, no. 2, 2008, pp. 4–17.
Geddis, Andrew: 'Rethinking the Funding of New Zealand's Election Campaigns', Policy Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 1, 2007, pp. 3–10.
Geddis, Andrew: 'The Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill', Policy Quarterly, vol. 6, no.3, 2010, pp. 3–7.
Orr, Graeme: 'Public Money and Electioneering. A View from across the Tasman', Policy Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 3, 2010, pp. 21–25.
Tham, Joo-Cheong: 'Regulating Political Contributions. Another View from Across the Tasman', Policy Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 3, 2010, pp. 26–30.
Vowles, Jack: 'Parties and Society in New Zealand', in: Paul Webb, David Farrell and Ian Holliday (eds.): Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 409–37.
Wilson, John F.: Donations to Political Parties: Disclosure Regimes, 2004; available at: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000001047
- 2003 Political Party Finance Database – International IDEA, Strömsborg, Sweden
- 2012 Political Party Finance Database – International IDEA, Strömsborg, Sweden