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Voting

What is voting?

In NZ, once you’re 18 and you’re a NZ citizen or resident, you can vote in the general elections, when it occurs, for the political party of your choice and for your local member of parliament (MP). The elections decide which political party makes the majority of the decisions in NZ for the next 3 years. You can also vote for your local council when the elections for that occurs, which also happens every 3 years, but at a different time to the general elections.

Do I have to be enrolled to vote?

If you’re a New Zealand citizen or resident who is at least 18, you have to be on the electoral roll. You could face a penalty if you are not enrolled to vote, however, it’s optional to vote after being enrolled. Besides the fact that you have to be enrolled to vote, it is good to be enrolled because by voting, you get a say in who runs the country. This can affect how much tax you pay, how much you get paid, or what benefits or support might be available if you get sick or lose your job.

How can I enrol to vote?

You can enrol to vote when you’re 18. If you want to start early, you can fill in an enrolment form when you’re 17 and you’ll automatically be enrolled as soon as you turn 18. There are lots of ways to enrol, including doing it online. You can visit the Electoral Commission webpage to find out how, or to check whether you are already enrolled to vote.

When you enrol, you must provide your full name, date of birth and address.

Are voting enrolment details private?

Everyone who is registered to vote has their details listed in the electoral roll book. The electoral roll is available to all New Zealanders at the Registrar of Electors’ offices as well as some libraries and council offices.

In some instances, people and their families are put at risk by having their details published in the electoral roll. These people can apply to have their details listed on the special non-published electoral roll. To apply to be on this roll or for more information, visit the Electoral Commission website.

 

What is the Māori electoral roll?

If you’re a New Zealand Maori or a descendant of a New Zealand Maori, you can choose to be on either the General or Maori electoral roll. If you’re on the Maori Electoral Roll, you will vote for an MP in Maori Electorate in the next general election. The Electoral Commission provides more information on this here.

How do I vote?

Prior to the election, you’ll receive an information pack in the mail with the voting places in your local area. On election day, you’ll need to go to one of your local voting places with your EasyVote card that came in your information pack to place your vote.

You get two votes. The first one is called a ‘party vote’. This is a vote for the party that you think should run New Zealand. The second is called an ‘electorate vote’. This is a vote for the candidate in your area that you think should represent your local area in the government. These 2 votes are independent, and just because you’ve voted for a certain party in the ‘party vote’, it doesn’t mean you have to vote for someone in the same party for your ‘electorate vote’. It’s up to you!

What is the New Zealand Political System?

New Zealand is a democracy. This means that people are allowed to vote to decide who will be in charge of running New Zealand until the next election. In New Zealand, most people 18 and over can vote. Your vote is equal to everyone else’s.

There are lots of different ways of running a democracy. The system that we use in New Zealand is called ‘MMP’, which stands for ‘Mixed Member Proportional’. The basic idea is that the number of representatives that each party gets in Parliament is related to how many people voted for them. For example, if 1 out of every 5 people in New Zealand voted for the Orange Party, then about 1 out of 5 people in Parliament would be from the Orange party.

You can learn more about how the MMP system works on the Electoral Commission website.

Which party should I vote for?

No one can force you to vote for a certain party, it’s entirely your choice. It’s also totally confidential – you don’t ever have to tell anyone who you voted for and nobody will ever find out.

It’s good to learn a bit about the different parties and candidates before voting so you can decide who you think would do the best job of running New Zealand. A good way to decide who to vote for is to read each party’s policies on their website.

Which candidate should I vote for?

No one can force you to vote for a certain candidate either. It’s entirely your decision and it’s also totally confidential. You don’t ever have to tell anyone who you voted for, and nobody will ever find out.

It’s good to learn a bit about the different candidates standing in your electorate and the parties that they represent. Then you can decide who you would like to represent your area in Parliament. You can find out which electorate you’re in and the candidates for your electorate on the Electoral Commission website.

 

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