Strengthening New Zealanders’ voting rights

  • Hon Andrew Little

New Zealand’s democracy is to be enhanced, with voters gaining the right to enrol on election day at next year’s general election and allowing ballot boxes to be placed in supermarkets and malls to make it easier for people to vote, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.

“New Zealanders deserve to have their votes counted. Nearly half of voters are now exercising their right to vote prior to election day. Those early voters are able to both enrol and vote at the ballot box. It’s only fair that people who vote on election day have the same right to enrol as those casting an early vote.

“The Election Commission have recommended a number of small changes to make it easier for people to enrol and vote. The Coalition Government has agreed to those recommendations.

“Putting ballot boxes in supermarkets and malls will make it easier for people to vote. It’s important that ballot boxes are placed where people are going about their normal business and can therefore accommodate voting more easily into their busy lives,” Andrew Little said.

The changes for next year’s election will be:

  • Election-day enrolment (“same day enrolment”);
  • More voting places where people live, work and play, such as supermarkets;
  • Making it easier for New Zealanders to vote from overseas;
  • Strengthening measures to protect the electoral process in the event of a significant emergency or national disaster.

On 4 December Andrew Little wrote to the Justice Select Committee to notify that the changes were planned (attached). Election-day enrolment was confirmed in Budget 2019.

The Justice Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections will continue, and the Government will consider any recommendations it makes.