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 18 December 2019.
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.
Once the electoral expenses and electoral donations return forms and supporting documents are sent back to the council they become 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.
- The $200 nomination deposit fee is not an electoral expense.
Candidates should note the following with regard to electoral donations:
An electoral donation is a donation of money, goods or services that is made for use in a candidate’s electoral campaign (section 103A of the Local Electoral Act(external link)). Electoral donations and contributions to donations of more than $1500, including GST, are required to be declared in the candidate’s return of electoral expenses and donations. A series of donations made by one person that adds up to more than $1500 must also be declared.
An electoral donation includes:
- Where a candidate is provided with goods or services free of charge that have a reasonable market value greater than $300.
- Where a candidate is provided with discounted goods or services and the reasonable market value of the goods or services is greater than $300, the difference between the contract or agreed price and the reasonable market value of those goods and services is a donation.
- Where a candidate sells over-valued goods or services, the difference between the price paid and the reasonable market value is a donation, for example a funding raising auction or dinner.
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.
Candidates who receive an anonymous donation of more than $1500 are required to pay the amount over $1500 to the electoral officer (for payment into the Council’s general account).
The electoral officer’s role is to bring these matters to the attention of all candidates.