Fears that address disclosure rules leave candidates open to abuse

Source: 1News

Political candidates say they could potentially be exposed to abuse with existing rules requiring campaign ads to list street addresses.

Electoral laws currently require campaign advertising to include either a residential or business street address so that candidates are accountable to voters.

But some believe the laws could potentially be dangerous for politicians who list their home addresses.

With local elections coming up in October, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins is worried that the rule could deter some from standing.

"It seems unhelpful to give people directions to where you might live as a candidate."

Meanwhile, TOP's Ōhāriu candidate Jessica Hammond said MPs from major parties with party and electorate offices might not fully grasp the issue.

"A lot of the people in Parliament probably don't understand the risk that independents and people from small parties and people from local government have to take by putting their home addresses out there."

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As a result, Hammond uses the Dunedin address of her party's sole office on her campaign material.

"I don't really have any connection with Dunedin, but all of my promotional materials… have this Dunedin address on it."

In a recent meeting with the Prime Minister, Local Government New Zealand raised its concerns about candidates being harassed in the upcoming election.

Ardern told 1News in a statement that she shared the organisation's concerns and was helping to look for a solution.

The Electoral Commission has said the law will need to be changed in order to drop street address requirements.

Hammond said the issue could ultimately also affect the families of candidates.

"I'm concerned for myself and other people, particularly women in politics, but also our addresses are just not our own – I live with my children and my partner."

She said it would be more useful for candidates to include email addresses instead of street addresses on campaign advertising.