Expat Representation Becomes Election Issue In NZ

By Dex Tennyson, for ExpatBriefing.com 25 June, 2015

The newly formed Expatriate Party of New Zealand seeks to put expat rights firmly on the agenda for the forthcoming general election.

A major concern for the Party is representation: they want all New Zealanders to have a constitutional right to vote in future New Zealand General Elections, saying that currently up to 20 percent of expatriate kiwis are excluded from the democratic process by section 80(1)(a) of the Electoral Act 1993, which denies voting rights for New Zealand citizens who have not returned to New Zealand in the last three years. They are also urging the implementation of electronic voting, to simplify voting for non-residents.

The Party feels that expat citizens, particularly long-term residents of Australia, are not given sufficient support by their home nation. Particular issues raised include the NZ Government's perceived lack of commitment in representing their expat citizens over such issues as the denial of permanent residency in Australia and increased visa controls in the UK.

The Party also wants to draw attention to the lack of financial support for students overseas and the lack of incentives for NZ expats to return or invest in NZ. The Party is also seeking improved consular assistance.

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