Elections in New Zealand

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New Zealand is a representative democracy. [1] Members of the unicameral New Zealand Parliament gain their seats through nationwide general elections, or in by-elections. General elections are usually held every three years; they may be held at an earlier date (a "snap" election) at the discretion of the Prime Minister (advising the Governor-General), although it usually only happens in the event of a vote of no confidence or other exceptional circumstances. A by-election is held to fill a vacancy arising during a parliamentary term. The most recent general election took place on 23 September 2017. [2]

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Representative democracy Democracy where citizens elect a small set of people to represent them in decision making

Representative democracy is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary state, and the United States is a federal republic.

In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house.


New Zealand has a multi-party system due to proportional representation. No party has won an outright majority since the introduction of proportional representation. [3] The introduction of the mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system in 1993 was the most significant change to the electoral system in the 20th century. [1] The Electoral Commission is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections. [4]

A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national election, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coalition. Apart from one-party-dominant and two-party systems, multi-party systems tend to be more common in parliamentary systems than presidential systems and far more common in countries that use proportional representation compared to countries that use first-past-the-post elections.

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body --- each citizen voter being represented proportionately as by Evaluative Proportional Representation located in Section 5.5.5, or by each party being represented proportionately. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party as their favorite, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.

Electoral Commission (New Zealand) Crown entity administering elections in New Zealand

The Electoral Commission is an independent Crown entity set up by the New Zealand Parliament. It is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections and referenda, promoting compliance with electoral laws, servicing the work of the Representation Commission, and the provision of advice, reports and public education on electoral matters. The Commission also assists electoral agencies of other countries on a reciprocal basis with their electoral events.

Local government politicians, including mayors, councillors and District Health Boards are voted in during the local elections, held every three years. These elections used both single transferable vote (STV) and first past the post (FPP) systems in 2007. [5]

Local government in New Zealand

New Zealand is a unitary state rather than a federation—regions are created by the authority of the central government, rather than the central government being created by the authority of the regions. Local government in New Zealand has only the powers conferred upon it by Parliament. These powers have traditionally been distinctly fewer than in some other countries. For example, police and education are run by central government, while the provision of low-cost housing is optional for local councils.

Single transferable vote Proportional representation voting system

The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat organizations or constituencies. Under STV, an elector (voter) has a single vote that is initially allocated to their most preferred candidate. Votes are totalled and a quota derived. If their candidate achieves quota, he/she is elected and in some STV systems any surplus vote is transferred to other candidates in proportion to the voters' stated preferences. If more candidates than seats remain, the bottom candidate is eliminated with his/her votes being transferred to other candidates as determined by the voters' stated preferences. These elections and eliminations, and vote transfers if applicable, continue until there are only as many candidates as there are unfilled seats. The specific method of transferring votes varies in different systems.

First-past-the-post voting voting system in which voters select one candidate, and the candidate who receives more votes than any other candidate wins

A first-past-the-post electoral system is one in which voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. This is sometimes described as winner takes all. First-past-the-post voting is a plurality voting method. FPTP is a common, but not universal, feature of electoral systems with single-member electoral divisions, and is practised in close to one third of countries. Notable examples include Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as most of their current or former colonies and protectorates.

Overview of elections


The first national elections in New Zealand took place in 1853, the year after the British government passed the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852. Women's suffrage was introduced in 1893, with New Zealand being the first modern country to do so. [6]

New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 Statute of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that granted self-government to the Colony of New Zealand. It was the second such Act, the previous 1846 Act not having been fully implemented.

Womens suffrage in New Zealand Womens voting rights in New Zealand

Women's suffrage in New Zealand was an important political issue in the late nineteenth century. In early colonial New Zealand, as in European societies, women were excluded from any involvement in politics. Public opinion began to change in the latter half of the nineteenth century, however, and after years of effort by women's suffrage campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard, New Zealand became the first self-governing colony in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

Initially, New Zealand used the first-past-the-post electoral system. The first election under the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system was held in 1996 following the 1993 electoral referendum.

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received. The constituency representatives are elected using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) or another plurality/majoritarian system. The nationwide or region-wide party representatives are, in most jurisdictions, drawn from published party lists, similar to party-list proportional representation. To gain a nationwide representative, parties may be required to achieve a minimum number of constituency candidates, a minimum percentage of the nationwide party vote, or both.

Electoral roll

The electoral roll consists of a register of all enrolled voters, organised (primarily alphabetically by surname) within electorates. All persons who meet the requirements for voting must by law register on the electoral roll, even if they do not intend to vote. Although eligible voters must be enrolled, voting in New Zealand elections is not compulsory. [7]

The electoral roll is a list of persons who are eligible to vote in a particular electoral district and who are registered to vote, if required in a particular jurisdiction. An electoral roll has a number of functions, especially to streamline voting on election day. Voter registration is also used to combat electoral fraud by enabling authorities to verify an applicant's identity and entitlement to a vote, and to ensure a person doesn't vote multiple times. In jurisdictions where voting is compulsory, the electoral roll is used to indicate who has failed to vote. Most jurisdictions maintain permanent electoral rolls while some jurisdictions compile new electoral rolls before each election. In some jurisdictions, people to be selected for jury or other civil duties are chosen from an electoral roll.

Compulsory voting requires citizens to register to vote and to go to their polling place or vote on election day

Compulsory voting is an effect of laws which require eligible citizens to register and vote in elections, and may impose penalties on those who fail to do so. As of August 2013, 22 countries provide for compulsory voting, and 11 of them — about 5% of all United Nations members — enforce it.

To be eligible to enrol, a person must be 18 years or older, a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have lived in New Zealand for one or more years without leaving the country (with some exceptions). [8] People can provisionally enrol to vote once they turn 17, with them being automatically enrolled on their 18th birthday.

The Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages automatically notifies a person's death to the Electoral Commission so they may be removed from the roll. Enrolment update drives are conducted prior to every local and general election in order to keep the roll up to date, identifying any voters who have failed to update their address or cannot be found.

The roll records the name, address and stated occupation of all voters, although individual electors can apply for "unpublished" status on the roll in special circumstances, such as when having their details printed in the electoral roll could threaten their personal safety. The roll is "public information" meaning it can be used for legitimate purposes such as selecting people for jury service but it can be abused especially by marketing companies who use the electoral roll to send registered voters unsolicited advertising mail. According to Elections New Zealand, "having the printed electoral rolls available for the public to view is a part of the open democratic process of New Zealand". [9] The Electoral Commission, in their report on the 2017 General Election recommended that roll sales be discontinued. for anything other than electoral purposes. [10]


New Zealanders refer to voting districts as "electorates", or as "seats". Following the work of the 2014 Representation Commission review, New Zealand from 2014 on will have 71 geographical electorates. The Commission moved boundaries in west Auckland to abolish the Waitakere electorate and establish the new electorates of Upper Harbour and Kelston. The 71 electorates include 7 Māori electorates specially set up for people of Māori ethnicity or ancestry who choose to place themselves on a separate electoral roll.

All electorates have roughly the same number of people in them – the Representation Commission periodically reviews and alters electorate boundaries to preserve this approximate balance. The number of people per electorate depends on the population of the South Island – this, currently the less populous of the country's two main islands, has sixteen guaranteed electorates, so the ideal number of people per electorate equals the population of the South Island divided by sixteen. From this, the Commission determines the number of North Island, Māori and list seats, which may fluctuate accordingly.

Supplementing the geographically-based electorate seats, the system currently allows for 49 at-large "list seats". A nationwide "party-vote" fills these seats from lists submitted by political parties; they serve to make a party's total share of seats in parliament reflect its share of the party vote. For example, if a party wins 20% of the party vote, but only ten electorate seats, it will win fourteen list-seats, so that it has a total of 24 seats: 20% of the 120 seats in parliament. (For further explanation see Electoral system of New Zealand.)

Timing of elections

General elections

30th [nb 1] 1 September 1951
31st 13 November 1954
32nd 30 November 1957
33rd 26 November 1960
34th 30 November 1963
35th 26 November 1966
36th 29 November 1969
37th 25 November 1972
38th 29 November 1975
39th 25 November 1978
40th 28 November 1981
41st [nb 2] 14 July 1984
42nd 15 August 1987
43rd 27 October 1990
44th 6 November 1993
45th [nb 3] 12 October 1996
46th 27 November 1999
47th [nb 4] 27 July 2002
48th 17 September 2005
49th 8 November 2008
50th 26 November 2011
51st 20 September 2014
52nd 23 September 2017
Election held on last Saturday of November
  1. Snap election due to waterfront strike
  2. Muldoon's snap election
  3. Called early to circumvent a by-election in Hawkes Bay
  4. Clark's snap election

New Zealand general elections generally occur every three years. Unlike some other countries, New Zealand has no fixed election-date for general elections, but rather the Prime Minister determines the timing of general elections by advising the Governor-General when to issue the writs for a general election. The Constitution Act 1986 requires new parliamentary elections every three years, unless a major crisis arises or the Prime Minister loses the ability to command a majority in parliament. [11] The 1910s, 1930s and 1940s saw three elections delayed due to World War I, the Great Depression and World War II, respectively: the 1919, 1935 and 1943 elections would otherwise have taken place in 1917, 1934 and 1941 (Parliaments passed Acts extending their terms).

The term of Parliament and the timing of general elections is set out in the Constitution Act 1986 and the Electoral Act 1993. Under section 19 of the Constitution Act, Parliament must meet within six weeks of the return of the writs for a general election, while under section 17, the term of Parliament ends three years after the return of the writs, unless Parliament is dissolved earlier by the Governor-General. Section 125 of the Electoral Act requires that whenever Parliament expires or is dissolved, the Governor-General must issue a writ of election within seven days. Section 139 of the Electoral Act provides further constraints. The writ must be returned within 50 days of being issued, though the Governor-General may appoint an earlier return date in the writ itself. Furthermore, polling day must be between 20 and 27 days after the close of nominations. Thus, New Zealand law requires elections at least once every three years and two months, though elections are often held after three years, traditionally in November. The extra two months allow for some flexibility when returning to a fourth-quarter election after an early election, as happened in 2005 and 2008 after the 2002 snap election (see below).

Early or "snap" elections have occurred at least three times in New Zealand's history: in 1951, 1984 and 2002. Early elections often provoke controversy, as they potentially give governing parties an advantage over opposition candidates. Note that of the three elections in which the government won an increased majority, two involved snap elections (1951 and 2002 – the other incumbent-boosting election took place in 1938). The 1984 snap election backfired on the government of the day: many believe that the Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, called it while drunk. [12] [13] See Snap election, New Zealand. The 1996 election took place slightly early (on 12 October) to avoid holding a by-election after the resignation of Michael Laws.

The Prime Minister's power to determine the election date can give the government some subtle advantages. For example, if governing parties believe that a section of the population will either vote against them or not at all, they might hold the election in early spring, when the weather may well keep less-committed voters away from the polls. Party strategists take the timing of important rugby union matches into account, partly because a major match in the same weekend of the election will likely lower voting-levels, and partly because of a widespread belief that incumbent governments benefit from a surge of national pride when the All Blacks (the New Zealand national rugby team) win and suffer when they lose.

Tradition associates elections with November – give or take a few weeks. After disruptions to the 36-month cycle, Prime Ministers tend to strive to restore it to a November base. In 1950, the legal requirement to hold elections on a Saturday was introduced, [14] and this first applied to the 1951 election. Beginning with the 1957 election, a convention was formed to hold general elections on the last Saturday of November. This convention was upset by Robert Muldoon calling a snap election in 1984. It took until the 1999 election to get back towards the convention, only for Helen Clark to call an early election in 2002. By the 2011 election, the conventional "last Saturday of November" was achieved again. [15] However, the convention was broken again for the 2014 and 2017 elections, which both occurred on the second-to-last Saturday in September.

Local elections

Unlike general elections, elections for the city, district and regional councils of New Zealand have a fixed election date. Under section 10 of the Local Electoral Act 2001, [16] elections must be held on the "second Saturday in October in every third year" from the date the Act came into effect in 2001. The last local body elections were held on 8 October 2016. The next will be held on 12 October 2019.

Nomination and deposit of political parties and candidates

A party that has more than 500 fee-paying members may register with the Electorate Commission. Registered parties may submit a party list on payment of a $1000 deposit. This deposit is refunded if the party reaches 0.5% of the party votes. Electorate candidates may be nominated by a registered party or by two voters in that electorate. The deposit for an electorate candidate is $300 which is refunded if they reach 5%.


Sample of an EasyVote card EasyVote sample.jpg
Sample of an EasyVote card
Ballot boxes at the Linwood Library, Christchurch, for the 2014 election. The white leftmost box is for special votes, with the orange boxes being for ordinary votes for the (from left to right) Te Tai Tonga, Port Hills, Christchurch Central and Christchurch East electorates. A voting screen can be seen to the left. Polling booth Linwood Library 671.JPG
Ballot boxes at the Linwood Library, Christchurch, for the 2014 election. The white leftmost box is for special votes, with the orange boxes being for ordinary votes for the (from left to right) Te Tai Tonga, Port Hills, Christchurch Central and Christchurch East electorates. A voting screen can be seen to the left.

New Zealand general elections occur when the Prime Minister requests a dissolution of Parliament and therefore a general election. Theoretically, this can happen at any time, although a convention exists whereby Prime Ministers do not call early elections unless they have no reasonable alternative. The maximum time allowed between two general elections is slightly more than three years.

Elections always take place on a Saturday, so as to minimise the effect of work or religious commitments that could inhibit people from voting. Voting (the casting of ballots) happens at various polling stations, generally established in schools, church halls, sports clubs, or other such public places. Polling booths are also set up in hospitals and rest homes for use by patients. The 2005 election made use of 6,094 such polling stations. Voters may vote at any voting station in the country. [17] [ not in citation given ]

Advance voting is available in the two weeks before election day. A dominating feature of the 2017 General Election was the increased use of advance voting. 47% of the votes were taken in advance and grew from 24% in the 2014 election. [10] In earlier elections, voters were required to provide reasons to vote in advance. From 2011 and beyond, voters could use this service for any reason. The Northcote by-election in 2018 was the first parliamentary election where more people voted in advance than on election day. [18]

If voters cannot physically get to a polling place, they may authorise another person to collect their ballot for them. Overseas voters may vote by mail, fax, internet or in person at NZ embassies. Disabled voters can choose to vote via a telephone dictation service.

Voters are encouraged to bring with them the EasyVote card sent to them before each election, which specifies the voter's name, address, and position on the electoral roll (e.g. Christchurch East 338/23 means the voter is listed in the Christchurch East electorate roll, on line 23 of page 338). However, this is not required, voters may simply state their name and address to the official.

The voting process uses printed voting ballots. After the voting paper is issued, the voter goes behind a cardboard screen, where they mark their paper using a supplied orange ink pen. The voter then folds their paper and places in their electorate's sealed ballot box. Voters who enrol after the rolls have been printed, voting outside their electorate, or on the unpublished roll casts a "special vote" which is separated for later counting.

According to a survey commissioned by the Electoral Commission, 71% of voters voted in less than 5 minutes and 92% in less than 10 minutes. 98% of voters are satisfied with the waiting time. [19]

New Zealand has a strictly enforced election silence; campaigning is prohibited on election day. [20] All election advertisements must be removed or covered by midnight on the night before the election. Opinion polling is also illegal on election day. [20]

Local elections are by mail. Referenda held in conjunction with elections are held at polling stations, between elections may be done by mail or at polling stations at the government's discretion.

Voting in the MMP system

Each voter gets a party vote, where they choose a political party, and an electorate vote, where they vote for a candidate in their electorate. The party vote determines the proportion of seats assigned to each party in Parliament. Each elected candidate gets a seat, and the remaining seats are filled by the party from its party list. [21]

For example:

A party wins 30% of the party vote. Therefore, it will get 30% of the 120 seats in Parliament (roughly 36 seats). The party won 20 electorates through the electorate vote. Therefore, 20 of the 36 seats will be taken by the MPs that won their electorate, and 16 seats will be left over for the party to fill from their list of politicians. [21]

Vote-counting and announcement

Polling places close at 7.00pm on election day and each polling place counts the votes cast there. The process of counting the votes by hand begins with advance and early votes from 9:00am. [22] From 7.00pm, results (at this stage provisional ones) go to a central office in Wellington, for announcement as they arrive. Starting from 2002, a dedicated official website, "www.electionresults.govt.nz" has provided "live" election result updates. The provisional results from polling places and advance votes will generally become available from 7:30pm, with advance vote results usually released by 8:30pm and all results by midnight.

All voting papers, counterfoils and electoral rolls are returned to the respective electorate's returning officer for a mandatory recount. A master roll is compiled from the booth rolls to ensure no voter has voted more than once. Special and overseas votes are also included at this stage. The final count is usually completed in two weeks, occasionally producing surprise upsets. In 1999 the provisional result indicated that neither the Greens nor New Zealand First would qualify for Parliament, but both parties qualified on the strength of special votes, and the major parties ended up with fewer list seats than expected. The final results of the election become official when confirmed by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Candidates and parties have 3 working days after the release of the official results to apply for a judicial recount, either of individual electorates or of all electorates (a nationwide recount). A judicial recount takes place under the auspices of a District Court judge; a nationwide recount must take place under the auspices of the Chief District Court Judge. [23] At the 2011 election, recounts were requested in the Waitakere and Christchurch Central electorates, after the top two candidates in each were separated by less than 50 votes.

Referenda by mail are scanned into a computer system, but not counted until the close of polling. When the poll closes at 7.00pm, the scanned ballots are counted and the results announced soon after.


General elections

The following table lists all previous general elections held in New Zealand (note that elections for Māori seats initially took place at different times from elections for general seats). The table displays the dates of the elections, the officially recorded voter turnout, and the number of seats in Parliament at the time. [24] On the right the table shows the number of seats won by the four most dominant parties in New Zealand's history (the Liberal Party and the Reform Party, which later merged to form the National Party, and the Labour Party), as well as the number won by other candidates (either independents or members of smaller political parties).

Bold indicates that the party was able to form a government.

TermElectionDate(s)Official turnoutTotal seatsLiberal ReformLabourOthersIndep.
First past the post (FPP)
1st 1853 election 4 July – 1 OctoberNo record37----37
2nd 1855 election 28 October – 28 DecemberNo record37----37
3rd 1860–1861 election 12 December – 28 MarchNo record53----53
4th 1866 election 12 February – 6 AprilNo record70----70
5th 1871 election 14 January – 23 FebruaryNo record78----78
6th 1875–1876 election 30 December – 28 MarchNo record88----88
7th 1879 election 28 August – 15 September66.5%88----88
8th 1881 election 9 December66.5%95----95
9th 1884 election 22 June60.6%95----95
10th 1887 election 26 September67.1%95----95
11th 1890 election 5 December80.4%7440--259
12th 1893 election 28 November75.3%7451--1310
13th 1896 election 4 December76.1%7439--269
14th 1899 election 6 December77.6%7449--196
15th 1902 election 25 November76.7%8047--1914
16th 1905 election 6 December83.3%8058--184
Two-round system period
17th 1908 election 17 November, 24 November, 1 December79.8%8050-1263
18th 1911 election 7 December, 14 December83.5%8033 [note 1] 374-6
Return to FPP
19th 1914 election 10 December84.7%8033415-1
20th 1919 election 17 December80.5%8021478-4
21st 1922 election 7 December88.7%80223717-4
22nd 1925 election 4 November90.9%80115512-2
23rd 1928 election 14 November88.1%8027271916
24th 1931 election 2 December83.3%8019 [note 2] 28 [note 2] 2418
25th 1935 election 27 November90.8%807 [note 2] 9 [note 2] 5347
26th 1938 election 15 October92.9%802553-2
27th 1943 election 25 September82.8%803445-1
28th 1946 election 27 November93.5%803842--
29th 1949 election 30 November93.5%804634--
30th 1951 election 1 September89.1%805030--
31st 1954 election 13 November91.4%804535--
32nd 1957 election 30 November92.9%803941--
33rd 1960 election 26 November89.8%804634--
34th 1963 election 30 November89.6%804535--
35th 1966 election 26 November86.0%8044351-
36th 1969 election 29 November88.9%844539--
37th 1972 election 25 November89.1%873255--
38th 1975 election 29 November82.5%875532--
39th 1978 election 25 November69.2% [note 3] 9251401-
40th 1981 election 28 November91.4%9247432-
41st 1984 election 14 July93.7%9537562-
42nd 1987 election 15 August89.1%974057--
43rd 1990 election 27 October85.2%9767291-
44th 1993 election 6 November85.2%9950454-
MMP era
45th 1996 election 12 October88.3%120443739-
46th 1999 election 27 November84.1%120394932-
47th 2002 election 27 July77.0%120275241-
48th 2005 election 17 September80.9%121485023-
49th 2008 election 8 November78.69% [25] 122584321-
50th 2011 election 26 November74.21%121593428-
51st 2014 election 20 September77.9%121603229-
52nd 2017 election 23 September79.8%120564618-
  1. The Liberal Party lost their majority in the 1911 election; however, due to the lack of a majority, they were able to stay in power until a vote of no confidence resulted in the formation of the Reform Government in 1912.
  2. 1 2 3 4 The United Party (a regrouping of the Liberals) and the Reform Party contested the 1931 and 1935 elections as a coalition, but did not formally merge as the National Party until 1936.
  3. Due to major problems with the enrolment process, commentators generally consider that the 1978 election had a significantly higher turnout than official figures indicate. [24]


Local elections


Ten referendums have been held so far. Seven were government-led, and three were indicative citizen "initiatives".

Voter turnout

As shown in the table above, voter turnout has generally declined in New Zealand general elections since the mid-20th century. Concerns about declining democratic engagement and participation have been raised by the Electoral Commission, and by commentators such as Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler, leading some to support the introduction of compulsory voting, as exists in Australia. A system of compulsory voting looks unlikely to manifest in the near future with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arguing that it is an ineffective way to foster citizen engagement. [26]

In its report after the 2014 election, the Electoral Commission issued the following statement:

Turnout has been in decline in most developed democracies over the last 30 years, but New Zealand's decline has been particularly steep and persistent. At the 2011 election, turnout as a percentage of those eligible to enrol dropped to 69.57 per cent, the lowest recorded at a New Zealand Parliamentary election since the adoption of universal suffrage in 1893. The 2014 result, 72.14 per cent, is the second lowest. This small increase, while welcome, is no cause for comfort. New Zealand has a serious problem with declining voter participation.

Of particular concern has been the youth vote (referring to the group of voters aged 18–29), which has had significantly lower turnout than other age brackets. A graph on the Electoral Commission's website clearly demonstrates the lower turnout in younger age groups. Those from poorer and less educated demographics also fail to vote at disproportionately high rates. [27]

Orange Guy

Orange Guy OrangeGuy point.jpg
Orange Guy

Orange Guy is the mascot used in electoral related advertising by the Electoral Commission. [28] He is an amorphous orange blob who usually takes on a human form, but can transform into any object as the situation warrants. His face is a smiley, and his chest sports the logo of the Electoral Commission. For radio and television, he is voiced by actor John Leigh. [29] Both the Electoral Commission logo and Orange Guy icon are trademarked to the Electoral Commission.

See also

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The 2014 New Zealand general election took place on Saturday 20 September 2014 to determine the membership of the 51st New Zealand Parliament.

50th New Zealand Parliament

The 50th New Zealand Parliament was elected at the 2011 general election. It had 121 members, and was in place from December 2011 until September 2014, followed by the 2014 general election. The first sitting of the 50th Parliament was held on 20 December 2011, where members were sworn in and Lockwood Smith was elected Speaker of the House. This was followed by the speech from the throne on 21 December. John Key continued to lead the Fifth National Government. Following the resignation of Smith, David Carter was elected Speaker.

Elections in the United Kingdom types of elections in the United Kingdom

There are six types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, elections to the European Parliament, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may be by-elections as well as general elections. Elections are held on Election Day, which is conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all six types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. Currently, six electoral systems are used: the single member plurality system, the multi member plurality system, party-list proportional representation, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote.

2013 Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election New Zealand by-election

A by-election was held in the New Zealand electorate of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti on 29 June 2013. The seat was vacated by the death of incumbent member of parliament Parekura Horomia two months earlier, who had represented the electorate for the Labour Party since its inception for the 1999 election. The election was won by Labour's Meka Whaitiri.

2017 New Zealand general election Election on 23 September 2017

The 2017 New Zealand general election took place on Saturday 23 September 2017 to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament. The previous parliament was elected on 20 September 2014 and was officially dissolved on 22 August 2017. Voters elected 120 members to the House of Representatives under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, a proportional representation system in which 71 members were elected from single-member electorates and 49 members were elected from closed party lists. Around 3.57 million people were registered to vote in the election, with 2.63 million (79.8%) turning out. Advance voting proved popular, with 1.24 million votes cast before election day, more than the previous two elections combined.

Next New Zealand general election

The next New Zealand general election will be held after the currently elected 52nd New Zealand Parliament is dissolved or expires. The current Parliament was elected on Saturday, 23 September 2017. The last possible date for the next general election to be held is Saturday, 21 November 2020.

Party lists in the 2017 New Zealand general election

The 2017 New Zealand general election was held on Saturday, 23 September 2017, to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament. Parliament has 120 seats, and 71 were filled by electorate MPs, with the remaining 49 from ranked party lists. Writ day, i.e. the day when the Governor-General issues a formal direction to the Electoral Commission to hold the election, was set for Wednesday, 23 August 2017. As stipulated in section 127 of the Electoral Act 1993, the writ will set a date by which registered parties must submit a "list of candidates for election to the seats reserved for those members of Parliament elected from lists". Party lists must have been submitted by Monday, 28 August, at noon. On Wednesday, 30 August, the Electoral Commission released details of candidates for election, party lists, and the polling places. This page lists candidates by party, including their ranking on a list.

52nd New Zealand Parliament

The 52nd New Zealand Parliament is the current meeting of the legislative branch of New Zealand's Parliament. It was elected at the 2017 general election. The 52nd Parliament consists of 120 members, and is serving from its opening on 7 November 2017 until the next general election. Under section 17 of the Constitution Act 1986, Parliament expires three years "from the day fixed for the return of the writs issued for the last preceding general election of members of the House of Representatives, and no longer." With the date for the return of writs for the general election set at 12 October 2017, the 52nd Parliament must be dissolved on or before 12 October 2020.

Results of the 2017 New Zealand general election

The following is a detailed results break down of the 2017 New Zealand general election, which was held on 23 September 2017.


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Further reading