. . . 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.
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.