A candidate is required to keep a record of all electoral donations and campaign election expense and must furnish a return to the electoral officer within 55 days of the election result being declared, no later than Wednesday 14 December 2016. However if a candidate is outside New Zealand on the election result day, they have 76 days after the election result day to furnish their return.
A return of electoral expenses form will be made available later in 2019.
Once the electoral expenses and electoral donations return forms and supporting documents are sent back to the council they become a public documents and will be placed on the Council’s website and can be inspected by any person for the next seven years.
Any queries regarding these returns should be directed to the Electoral Officer Jo Daly on 03 941 8581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Candidates have campaign expenditure limits and are required to file a return to the electoral officer after the election.
Section 111 of the Local Electoral Act 2001 (external link)details the maximum amount of electoral expenses. The Candidate Information Booklet includes a summary from section 111(1) of the Act of maximum amount of electoral expenses (inclusive of goods and services tax) that a candidate must not exceed.
Campaign expenditure is all expenses relating to the campaign from the period three months before election day, for example all expenditure from 12 July 2019 to 12 October 2019 plus any apportioned costs of any election campaigning before 12 July 2019. (refer to section 112 of the Local Electoral Act 2001(external link)).
If a candidate is standing for more than one position (for example Mayor and councillor) then the higher limit applies (not both combined).
The relevant sections of the Local Electoral Act 2001 on election expenses are available in the Candidate Information Booklet. Please note:
- Candidates are required to keep evidence of any election expenses for amounts exceeding $200
- All candidates must submit a return of election expenses and donations form even if no expenses have been incurred or donations received.
In 2013, significant changes were made to electoral donation requirements.
The changes align the Local Electoral Act with current rules in the Electoral Act 1993 (for parliamentary elections). The changes include:
- A limit of $1500 on the size of an anonymous donation
- A requirement that any candidate receiving an anonymous donation of more than $1500 pay the amount over $1500 to the electoral officer (for payment into the Council’s general account)
- Requirements for the candidate to disclose in their return of electoral expenses and donation information about all donations above $1500 (including those aggregated donations)
- New definitions of “anonymous” and “donation”
- New obligation on a third party, who passes on a donation to a candidate on behalf of a donor, to disclose the identity of the donor to the candidate
- New obligation on a person administering the affairs of a candidate’s campaign to disclose the identity of the donor of an anonymous donation of more than $1500 (if known) to the candidate
- New penalty provisions for non-compliance with the new requirements
- Improved public access to candidate returns of electoral donations and expenses.
Donations to candidates can be made up of pooled funds contributed by more than one person (referred to as donations funded from contributions). These types of donations include, for example, campaign donations made through a trust, or where there is a fundraising collection for a candidate’s campaign.
Candidates must disclose, in their return of electoral donations and expenses, whether a donation is funded from contributions and the name and address of any individuals contributing amounts in excess of $1500. Anonymous donations made through contributions are limited to a maximum of $1500 per donation.
The electoral officer’s role is to bring these matters to the attention of all candidates.