is not compulsory in New Zealand but, if you are eligible to
vote, you are required to enrol as an elector. To enrol to vote
you must be a permanent resident and at least 18 years old. You
also need to have lived here on a continuous basis for a year and
have resided in your electorate for at least one month.
Electoral records are maintained by the Registrar of Electors and
are updated twice every three years. However, if you change your
address it is advisable to advise the Registrar directly. Both
enrolment and address changes can be arranged through New Zealand
Post Shops. If there are special reasons why your name and
address should not be published in the Electoral Roll, they can
be registered on the unpublished roll.
The Electoral Process
Under the MMP system, the House of Representatives comprises 120
MPs. Of these, 51 are list MPs (candidates nominated by
registered political parties prior to the general election), 62
represent General Electorates and seven Maori Electorates. Only
Maori who are registered on the Maori roll can vote in a Maori
Electorate. All others are registered on the General Roll.
Registered electors cast two votes:
- A vote for a political party
- this is known as the Party Vote
- A vote for a candidate
seeking to represent a local electorate - this is
known as the Electorate Vote
Each partys total number of
Party Votes determines its share of the 120 seas in Parliament.
However, before a party is entitled to this share, it must
receive at least 5% of all Party Votes cast at the election, or
win at least one General or Maori Electorate.
The system works like this. A Party that wins 30% of the Party
Vote is entitled to 36 MPs in total. If it already has 15
Electorate MPs, a further 21 List MPs will be appointed to bring
its total to 36. This ensures that final representation fairly
reflects a partys share of the national vote. List MPs are
appointed on the basis of a candidates ranking on the party
Local government (often referred to as local or
territorial authorities operates on two levels:
regional councils, and district and city councils.
There are 12 regional councils. These are responsible for such
matters as water supply, parks and reserves, land transport
planning and resource management. The role of the regional
councils is complemented by the work of district and city
councils. There are 59 district councils and 15 city councils.
Their areas of responsibility are similar to those of regional
councils and include water supply, land use, building controls,
roading and transport, as well as community development.
Local government elections are held every three years. Regional
council electorates are known as constituencies;
district and city council electorates as wards. If
you are registered as a parliamentary elector, you can also vote
in local government elections. Voting is usually by postal