Elections (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about the New Zealand government elections?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Colour photo of a bright orange sign with the word 'Voting' with an arrow below it pointing to where to vote.

Image: Election2011 sign1 by Simon Lyall on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 1/12/23


General elections (or parliamentary elections) are held every 3 years when New Zealanders get the opportunity to decide who will govern the country. Aotearoa uses the MMP (Mixed Member Proportional representation) voting system to elect its Parliament. This means that two or more political parties could form the Government.

Local elections are also held every 3 years to elect mayors and councillors to look after political issues of a local nature.

History of voting and elections

New Zealand held its first parliamentary election in 1853 but the number of people allowed to vote was quite restricted.

Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we look down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • From the Stories A-Z tab choose the letter V.

  • Then select Voting rights.

  • The stories here are about the history of voting and how it has changed over the years.

You will also find information on New Zealand elections in general.

Tips: As well as the information in these articles, remember to look at the External links and sources. You will find a list of additional resources in both electronic and print formats.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Use the Politics and Government link and have a look at the headings under Political milestones.

  • Have a look at Women and the vote and Māori and the vote to find out about the history of these groups in New Zealand elections.

  • Go to The road to MMP to read about the change from FPP (First Past the Post) to MMP (Mixed Member Proportional).

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


DigitalNZ searches online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites in one place. It groups results by the type of information and has lots of primary sources.

  • Use the keywords 'electoral system New Zealand' to find sources of information such as audio, video and images.

  • You will find the tabs for these at the top of the page after doing your search.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

The New Zealand History Collection

The New Zealand History Collection is part of EPIC, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. You will find lots of books on Aotearoa New Zealand's history, politics and social issues.

  • Look for the title The 9th Floor: Conversations with Five New Zealand Prime Ministers.

  • The book is an in-depth interview with former Prime Ministers of New Zealand.

  • Also read Activism, Feminism, Politics and Parliament and The Women's Suffrage Petition, 1893.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Elections today

Under current New Zealand law, everyone who is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and is aged 18 or over is able to vote.

Electoral Commission

This website is the official government site for Aotearoa New Zealand's general or parliamentary elections.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the About us link on the website for more information.

New Zealand Parliament

This official website of the New Zealand Parliament will help you find information on the working of the Parliament, the Members of Parliament (MPs), how laws are made, and the election process.

Political parties

There are a number of different political parties that are active in Aotearoa New Zealand. The websites below will help you understand more about them and what they stand for.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Have another look at Te Ara to explore the history and development of political parties in New Zealand.

  • Go to Government and Nation and then Political Participation.

  • Select Political parties.

  • This covers the original two-party system, and the current MMP voting system that enables smaller parties to gain seats and join bigger parties to form a government.

  • Explore all the other links to understand more about the major and minor parties.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Electoral Commission

The official website for Elections in Aotearoa New Zealand covers all the political parties and what they stand for.

Election news, issues and results

During the months leading up to an election there is often lots of news and reporting in the media. You may like to explore one or two of the following sites for some different viewpoints.


Newshub is part of the news service that airs on television channel 3. It contains national and local news, including world news, sport, politics and entertainment news. it does not have a search feature.

  • From the front page go to Election 2023.

  • This has the latest on the political and election news.

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand Herald is another website for finding out about news and current events in New Zealand. It usually has up-to-date information about the elections, during the election period. There are two ways to search this site.

  • Go to the list on the left side of the page and choose Politics.

  • Look down the page to find the section on Election 2023.

  • Or, use the search bar and enter your keywords such as 'elections' or 'voting'.

Tips: You may find some articles marked 'Premium'. These items can be read with a monthly subscription. The other articles are free to read on New Zealand Herald.


This site has up-to-the-minute New Zealand news and press releases. It's a good source for some different points of view.

  • Look for the tab called Politics for election news.

  • Or search using the name of a party, or the name of a party candidate.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


This is a useful news website where you can find current election information during the elections. There are two ways to search this site.

  • Go to the Menu at the top of the page and then select Politics.

  • Use the search bar and enter the keyword 'elections'.

Tips: You can also search for news on Google. Enter your search words into Google and then click on the link to News at the top of the page. The articles will appear with the most recent news stories at the top.


Many books have been written about the elections and politics in Aotearoa. Check your local public and school libraries to see what they have. Below are some titles to help you begin your search.

You will also be able to find titles about election campaigns as well as biographies of people in politics.

SCIS no: 1832058

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