A new political party representing the global Kiwi diaspora has been formed with plans to contest the New Zealand general election later this year.
The Expatriate Party of New Zealand (the Expats) say they've gained the minimum 500 paid members required to register their party over the weekend in Perth, Western Australia.
The membership forms collected in Perth by 10 volunteers, with a take-up rate above 90 percent, will be submitted to the Electoral Commission over the next 48 hours for review.
Perth-based party spokesman Nick Teulon, originally from Christchurch, said in a statement that the Expats believed it was the New Zealand government's responsibility to represent all New Zealand citizens, irrespective of where they live and that the Expats would not be lobbying overseas governments.
"Kiwis love Australia and are not looking to the Australian government for the right to vote in Australia or for unemployment benefits as has been widely reported," he said.
"New Zealanders in Australia are however deeply concerned that successive New Zealand governments have failed to actively and effectively advocate overseas for core residency, health and education rights and they expect the New Zealand government to do so."
The Expats would lobby for the repeal of the section of the New Zealand Electoral Act which disqualifies New Zealand citizens from voting if they have not visited New Zealand in the last three years.
Mr Teulon said the apparent justification for the law was that Kiwis who had left New Zealand were no longer in touch with New Zealand issues. However, the internet and proliferation of online news sources had changed that.
The same law also makes such expats ineligible to stand for parliament.
Mr Teulon declined to elaborate further on party policy, saying that this was a matter for its executive to finalise as the election drew nearer.
But he referred to the Expats' website (www.expatparty.org), which links to its constitution and a sampling of issues of concern to the party.