A fund to support candidates with disabilities to participate in parliamentary elections is now open for applications.
People with disabilities seeking selection or standing as a candidate in a parliamentary general election or by-election can apply for a grant from the Election Access Fund Te Tomokanga — Pūtea Whakatapoko Pōtitanga to help cover their costs.
The Fund can be used to pay for disability related costs during selection or campaigning, for example accessible transport to events or meetings, or specialist equipment.
The Electoral Commission consulted with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations, political parties, and other interested groups, before finalising how the Fund would be managed.
‘The input of the disability community was crucial in designing the Fund and establishing the eligibility criteria, how the Fund will operate and the expenses it can cover,’ says Chief Electoral Officer, Karl Le Quesne.
‘On advice from the community, we have designed the processes around the Election Access Fund to offer independence, choice and autonomy for the applicant.’
Information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding is available online and in alternate formats at elections.nz.
People can apply by completing an application form online or by calling the Election Access Fund team.
‘We have an independent panel of People with disabilities with extensive knowledge of access needs to advise us whether an application meets the criteria and is fair and reasonable before a decision is made on funding,’ says Karl Le Quesne.
The Electoral Commission is responsible for setting up and running the Election Access Fund under the Election Access Fund Act 2020.