Possible New Zealand election delay

As already flagged in a couple of comments at the earlier planting on the New Zealand election (thanks, Errol), there is now some discussion of a delay in the polling date. The dissolution of parliament did not take place Monday as had been expected. This does not immediately mean the election date, 19 September, has to be pushed back. But it means it is possible.

This uncertainty is due to the recent return of COVID-19 cases to the country, and all the complications that could cause for holding the election. There are provisions of the election law, added rather recently, that would permit delay under specified conditions even after a dissolution.

Details at The Conversation and at Stuff.

16 thoughts on “Possible New Zealand election delay

  1. Queensland is also heading for an election on 31 October, although there is no talk of postponement yet. The governor can postpone the election by 35 days if the premier recommends postponement and the opposition leader agrees.


  2. Delayed a month until October 17. While authorities don’t yet think they have found the ‘boundary’ of the Auckland outbreak, the very low number of positive results with a high level of testing must be giving a good level of assurance that COVID levels can be reduced over the next few weeks.


  3. Parliament Dissolved, which means that the PM no longer has control over timing.

    The dissolution takes the role of delaying the election out of the hands of the Government, if it wished to do so again.
    However, the chief electoral officer, Alicia Wright, can delay the election for short periods if she believes holding it would not be safe – for the whole nation or defined areas.
    Wright has the power to delay the election by three days unilaterally, and by up to a week in consultation with the prime minister and leader of the Opposition.
    If one part of the country has the election day delayed, results would not be released until that part of the country had voted.


  4. Advance voting (which started at the weekend) statistics at https://elections.nz/stats-and-research/2020-general-election-advance-voting-statistics/
    There were 1.240k (out of 2,591k total) advance votes in 12 days in 2017, with 154k in the first three days. The first three days of 14 this year had 271k.

    NZ appears to have eliminated COVID-19 for a second and third time (in addition to the Auckland outbreak there was a case that was transmitted in Managed Isolation that only lead to five additional community cases due to early testing and effective contact tracing). While Auckland joins the rest of the country on the lowest level of COVID-19 precautions tonight (basically strict border controls but only personal location tracking encouraged otherwise), the voting infrastructure prepared for the next highest level remains in place. Primarily many more advance voting locations to provide spacing etc – and no “I’ve Voted” stickers 😦


  5. On the topic of New Zealand, here’s a short blog post by Ben Raue on the possibility that both the Greens and NZ First could drop out of Parliament, leaving Labour with the most votes and the outgoing coalition with an overall majority of votes, but giving a National-ACT coalition a slim majority of seats.


    • Thanks Henry. Which leads me back to my perpetual query as to why the CDU-CSU doesn’t cede the FDP a couple of constituency seats here and there to protect them from the 5% threshold, and now why NZ Labour doesn’t do the same with Greens and NZF.
      Impossible to imagine the Liberals in Australia letting the Nationals and their 8% of the vote vanish from the Coalition’s side of the ledger.
      Would CDU or Labour voters be outraged at being asked to vote for a local candidate not of their first-choice party? would this kind of pre-election pact be viewed some kind of “corrupt bargain” (in a way that Winston going fishing after election day and then returning to tell Aotearoans who their next Prime Minister will be, apparently isn’t)?
      Please, someone help (hilfen, hilp) me out here, I am genuinely perplexed at what seems the electoral equivalent of lighting a potlatch bonfire.


      • Ok, Ben Raue’s blogpost and the article http://www.tallyroom.com.au/19967 he links to indicate that National has in fact been doing just that, ie has urged its supporters in one electorate (Epsom) to support Mr Hide so ACT won’t be shown the door by the electoral bouncers.
        Last I heard, this was all allegedly being telegraphed via dog whistles and kremlinological subtleties by the Nationals leader (“Three Cups of Tea”, “Hide the Key”, etc).
        Has this arrangement become explicit now?
        Contrast the other “ACT +PR” result on Google:
        “… The ACT is a category of its own. First, chief minister Andrew Barr runs the only Labor – Greens coalition government in Australia. Unlike Tasmania’s Labor – Greens coalitions, it has been harmonious, so far lasting twelve years without any serious public blow-up. If Labor and the Greens are ever to form a coalition at the federal level – and the voters may give them no choice – this is the model they would have to follow…”
        – Tim Colebatch, “Looks like Killara, votes like Cessnock: Will the well-heeled Australian Capital Territory once again vote for the left?” Inside Story (1 October 2020), https://insidestory.org.au/looks-like-killara-votes-like-cessnock/
        PS: Interesting factoid from the same article: “… The Greens can always be their own worst enemy. One reason their vote was so low in 2016 was that every one of their five lead candidates lived in the inner north: that cost them badly in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin…’
        Paging David Cameron: time to deploy your Oxford First in politics and explain to the redneck hillbillies of Canberra that multi-seat PR leaves voters helpless if parties don’t ensure geographical balance among their candidates.


      • With regard to Epsom, the answer is yes, the arrangement is now very explicit.

        I don’t know why NZ Labour or the CDU don’t give the Greens and FDP clear runs at seats. If I had to guess, it would be partially petty jealousy (the sort that fuels the particularly bitter feuding between Australian Labor and the Greens) and partially suspicion on the part of the larger party of a smaller party which has the proven ability to get over the threshold itself and which could potentially do a deal with the other side (obviously the FDP at one point were willing to form coalitions with the SPD, and IIRC the Greens in NZ did sign some sort of agreement with the Nats during Key’s first term).


      • Henry, that’s a good point. Outside Queensland, it’s coming up to seven decades since the Nationals actually allied with Labor against the Liberals (or their predecessor party by whatever name).
        Even in WA, where the Nats don’t have an enduring coalition and regularly engage in Hamlet-like deliberation after any election in which they hold the balance of power, they have ended up siding with the Libs (Barnett in 2008, Abbott in 2010, etc) as long as I can remember, at least on supply-and-confidence.
        That said, something analogous does occur in our “closed-list STV” elections for mainland upper houses – the Libs and Nats together will sometimes direct preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor, although that’s more to sow havoc on the Left than because the Libs/ Nats are seriously considering allying with the Greens.


  6. The NZ Greens List has a number of allocations for balance (at least at the draft stage), starting with male/female co-leaders, then various other attributes, the detail of which I can’t find quickly. I’m not sure if geography is one of them.


  7. Some commentary on the cost of holding this election, and some support for four-year terms

    And some detail of the advice given to the PM around moving the election date from that originally intended.


  8. Looking like Advance Voting will be ~65% of total votes. Expect an increase in numbers voting, as there was a larger campaign to get people enrolled (which is technically compulsory, but not enforced) and voting, ability to enrol people on Election Day (previously allowed during Advance Voting period only, this will mean many fewer disallowed votes), and the COVID approach meaning many more locations available.

    Results at https://electionresults.govt.nz from 7pm NZDT (6am UTC 11pm PDT). Results of Advance Voting will post then – totals will be less than the numbers implied by the daily reporting, as any votes done out of electorate are treated as Special Votes and not reported until final results on 6th November.


  9. Pingback: New Zealand 2020 preview | Fruits and Votes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.