15 Feb 2014

Law change wanted for offshore voters

5:24 pm on 15 February 2014

A political party being set up by New Zealanders in Western Australia wants a law change to make about one million more people eligible to vote.

Organisers of the Expatriate Party in Perth said they have the 500 paid members required to register the party with the Electoral Commission so it can contest the general election this year.

Spokesperson Nick Teulon said the party's initial focus is getting a law change in New Zealand so people who have been overseas for more than three years can vote in future elections.

He said the party also wants New Zealand to toughen its approach to Australia, which does not allow some New Zealand immigrants access to welfare.

Mr Teulon said the party has also established a delegation in London.

But the Electoral Commission says the group has so far made no attempt to register a political party in New Zealand.

The commission says it has not had an application so far and will deal with one if it comes.

It says the registration of such a party would be perfectly permissible if it has 500 paid-up members, all of who are legally entitled to vote in New Zealand elections.

Under current law this applies to New Zealand residents overseas who come back to this country at least once every three years.