19 Jun 2013

Commission won't bend rules for Dunne

6:47 pm on 19 June 2013

The Electoral Commission has turned down the United Future party's appeal to bend its rules in order for it to gain registration.

Peter Dunne says his party is at risk of losing funding.

Peter Dunne says his party is at risk of losing funding. Photo: RNZ

It was de-registered on 31 May this year because it could not declare that it had the 500 members required to be a registered political party.

United Future leader Peter Dunne asked the commission on Wednesday to change its policy for needing signed evidence of membership to accepting an electronic spreadsheet of member details.

However in a decision released later in the day, the Commission says it will not change its policy. It says it does not require original signed application forms and will accept those signed and dated submitted electronically.

The commission says once it has received the forms it will process the application the usual way, which it estimates will take six to eight weeks.

Peter Dunne told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the Electoral Commission clearly hasn't come anywhere near the 21st century. He said most people do things online these days but the commission is back in the age of quill pen and parchment.

Mr Dunne acknowledged that if United Future is not re-registered soon, it is at risk of losing funding that only registered parties get.

The MP for Ohariu admits he probably exaggerated when he said on Wednesday that the number of members in United Future had quadrupled; he now says they have actually doubled to over four figures.