Broadcasting Allocation 2017 - Invitation to political parties

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The deadline by which political parties must give written notice to the Electoral Commission of eligibility for an allocation of broadcasting time or an allocation of money appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of broadcasting election programmes for the 2017 General Election is 5pm, Friday 3 March 2017.

Parties invited to give notice are those already registered under the Electoral Act 1993, and those intending to register by the dissolution of Parliament. The Commission can only allocate broadcasting time or money to a party that has given written notice to the Commission by 5pm, 3 March 2017 that the party considers itself eligible for an allocation and the party is registered when Parliament is dissolved or expires.

The letter giving notice that the party considers it will be eligible for an allocation of broadcasting time or money for the 2017 General Election must include:

  1. the full name of the political party; and
  2. the name and address of the person providing the notice and the capacity in which he or she provides the notice; and
  3. where the person providing the notice is not the secretary of the political party, the name and address of the secretary of the political party; and
  4. details of any relationships that may exist between that political party and any other political parties in New Zealand which the Commission may need to take into account in allocating time or money to political parties; and
  5. either:
    1. that the party is registered on the Register of Political Parties; or
    2. that the party is intending to apply for registration on the Register of Political Parties in order to be registered at the date of dissolution or expiry of Parliament; and
  6. whether or not the political party intends to submit a list under section 127 of the Electoral Act 1993 for the 2017 General Election.

Notice must be received by 5pm, Friday 3 March 2017 and should be addressed to the Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Commission; and may be given by:

  • post to PO Box 3220, Wellington 6140
  • delivery to Level 10, 34 - 32 Manners Street, Wellington
  • email to enquiries@elections.govt.nz
  • fax to 04 495 0031

The relevant law is in Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act 1989, particularly Sections 70A-76D concerning the allocation process.

Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill 2016 (Broadcasting Amendment Bill)

On 27 October 2016 the Broadcasting Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament.  The Broadcasting Amendment Bill proposes to:

  • remove the requirements for opening and closing addresses to be broadcast at election time, along with the need for TVNZ and RNZ to provide free broadcasting time for these addresses; and
  • enable parties to use their allocations of funding for Internet advertising, in addition to television and radio as currently permitted.

Although the changes proposed affect the allocation, to ensure timely decisions, the Commission is commencing the early stages of the process under the current legislation which will include asking TVNZ and RNZ what time will be made available for opening and closing addresses. 

The Electoral Commission's formal notice inviting parties to give notice for the purposes of allocation of broadcasting time and money for the 2017 General Election was published in the New Zealand Gazette on 2 February 2017.