The Electoral Commission pays suppliers' accounts to parties that have been certified by an authorised party official as payable from the party's allocation and forwarded to the Commission. Payments are made to suppliers and no money is paid directly to parties. s.74B.
The Electoral Commission:
- aims to pay all properly authorised and payable accounts within 5 working days of receiving them from parties
- cannot guarantee in advance that a particular account will be paid and cannot provide a credit reference for a party
- will not pay any account until it has been certified by a party as payable from its allocation
- cannot make a payment that will result in a party's broadcasting expenditure exceeding its allocation. An account may be paid up to the amount that would result in the party's allocation being spent
- cannot pay any account received more than 50 working days after the end of the month in which the election was held.
The process to be followed is:
- Each party provides the Electoral Commission with details of those persons who are authorised to certify accounts. The form to be used is available for download under relevant resources, below
- An authorised party official certifies an account and sends it to the Electoral Commission, PO Box 3220, Wellington. Remember, we can only pay accounts received within 50 working days after the end of the month in which the election was held
The Electoral Commission checks that the account contains all of the required information (details below), has been certified by an authorised party official, is for broadcasting or production and that the party has sufficient funds in its allocation to pay the account -
- If all is in order then the Electoral Commission pays the account within 5 working days and sends the party notification that the account has been paid
- If there is a problem then the Electoral Commission will contact the party secretary within 5 working days.
Each account submitted to the Commission must include the following information. It is the responsibility of each party to ensure that the account contains the required information:
- the name of the party
- the name of the person or organisation issuing the account
- whether the account is for broadcasting, for production costs, or for both
in each case of broadcasting of election programmes on radio or television -
- the station(s) concerned
- the numbers of election programmes broadcast
- the dates of the broadcasts
- the durations of the broadcasts
- the total costs of broadcasting the election programmes (including GST).
Parties and broadcasters should note the following:
- The allocations of money the Commission makes to political parties include GST, whereas broadcasters' ratecards and quotations may not include GST
- Where applicable, the rates available under the Volume Incentive Discounts Agreements scheme negotiated from time to time between some television and radio broadcasters and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet should be applied to the rates charged by those broadcasters for broadcasting parties' election programmes. Anyone placing television or radio advertising on behalf of a political party should therefore enquire whether the broadcaster's rates include the discounts that are available under the Agreements.
- The Act prohibits a party from using its own funds to buy radio or television time to broadcast election programmes. Production costs can be paid for with the allocation and/or with party funds. Hence any account submitted to the Commission may be in respect of production costs, the cost of broadcasting time, or both
- Parties should plan their election broadcasting commitments on the clear understanding that an allocation to a party is provisional until the party's eligibility for an allocation is confirmed and is subject to any variations the Commission may make under section 76A of the Act. Variation may be made if the party ceases to be registered or changes its relationship to other parties, does not submit a party list. s.76A.
- The attention of parties is drawn to section 76B of the Act, which in summary provides that, where effect has been given in whole or in part to an allocation of money to a party and the Commission varies that allocation under section 76A of the Act, the Commission may decide that the party must repay to the Crown any money the Commission has paid from the party's allocation. s.76B.
- The Commission undertakes to keep confidential the details of political parties' advertising commitments and expenditure unless the Commission is required to provide that information in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 or otherwise by law. Certified accounts for payment should be sent to the Electoral Commission,PO Box 3220, Wellington.
Queries about matters in this document should be directed to the Electoral Commission phone 04 495 0030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org