No residential requirement for representation

A new political party has been formed to represent ex-pat New Zealanders.

. . . The Expatriate Party of New Zealand (the Expats) say they’ve gained the minimum 500 paid members required to register their party over the weekend in Perth, Western Australia.

The membership forms collected in Perth by 10 volunteers, with a take-up rate above 90 percent, will be submitted to the Electoral Commission over the next 48 hours for review. . .

Perth-based party spokesman Nick Teulon, originally from Christchurch, said in a statement that the Expats believed it was the New Zealand government’s responsibility to represent all New Zealand citizens, irrespective of where they live and that the Expats would not be lobbying overseas governments.

“Kiwis love Australia and are not looking to the Australian government for the right to vote in Australia or for unemployment benefits as has been widely reported,” he said.

“New Zealanders in Australia are however deeply concerned that successive New Zealand governments have failed to actively and effectively advocate overseas for core residency, health and education rights and they expect the New Zealand government to do so.”
I can understand why people feel aggrieved they don’t get the same rights in Australia as Australians do here, but when Australia is facing years of huge deficits, this isn’t going to be a priority for public spending.
If the ex-pats are so enamoured of Australia, and living and working there for years and want the rights of Australian citizens, why don’t they apply for citizenship?

The Expats would lobby for the repeal of the section of the New Zealand Electoral Act which disqualifies New Zealand citizens from voting if they have not visited New Zealand in the last three years.

Mr Teulon said the apparent justification for the law was that Kiwis who had left New Zealand were no longer in touch with New Zealand issues. However, the internet and proliferation of online news sources had changed that.

The same law also makes such expats ineligible to stand for parliament.

We don’t have a residential requirement for representation. But it’s not unreasonable to expect a little more commitment to your  country than following the news on-line if you want the right to vote.

You don’t have to live here permanently and it’s not a particularly onerous requirement to turn up here once every three years.

The 500 members requirement is a very low hurdle but would-be parties do have to do more than that to register.

Even if it does get registered, a quick look at the results for all the other fringe parties in past elections show what’s likely to happen to the Expats -  they will get a tiny percentage of the votes then disappear.

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3 Responses to No residential requirement for representation

  1. J Bloggs says:

    Assuming they got 5% of the votes – who is going to come back from their overseas life to represent them in parliament?

  2. Sarah says:

    “We don’t have a residential requirement for representation. But it’s not unreasonable to expect a little more commitment to your country than following the news on-line if you want the right to vote” – a lot of expats own property in NZ, have family in NZ, plan to come back to NZ! they have commitment – big commitment and still are New Zealanders.

    “Even if it does get registered, a quick look at the results for all the other fringe parties in past elections show what’s likely to happen to the Expats – they will get a tiny percentage of the votes then disappear” – approx 1million expats, 120,000 votes for 5% party vote… I wouldn’t laugh this off too quickly. They could hold the balance of power..!

  3. homepaddock says:

    How many people like that wouldn’t come back at least once in three years?

    The party isn’t even registered yet. Look at other would-be parties and see how they fared in previous elections.

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