Media Handbook

This media handbook provides information for publishers and broadcasters about what political parties, candidates and third parties can and cannot do when campaigning for the 2017 general election.

Some of the rules impose obligations on both the promoter of election advertisements and the publisher or broadcaster so it is important for media to be aware of the rules.

This handbook provides detailed information on:

  • election advertising rules (print, online and outdoor)
  • election broadcasting rules (additional rules that apply to tv and radio)
  • election day rules results complaints.

What’s new at this election?

  • There will no longer be free time provided by Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand for party opening and closing addresses and the amount of money available for allocation by the Electoral Commission to political parties for broadcasting election programmes will be increased to $4.146m(including GST).
  • In addition to television and radio, parties will be able to use their allocation to advertise on the internet. There will no longer be a requirement for broadcasters to file broadcasting returns. Instead, parties will be required to file a return of allocation expenses after the election.
  • Case law has confirmed that the broadcasting rules in Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act only apply to broadcasts initiated by political parties and candidates, not broadcasting by third parties and not editorial content, third party comment or opinion in relation to an election, e.g. news, comment, current affairs, entertainment, documentaries, etc.
  • There will be some changes to advance voting at the election. Campaign activity will be prohibited inside advance voting places and within 10 metres of their entrance. There will be a slightly shorter advance voting period, starting on the Monday 12 days before election day to align with when voters receive their EasyVote cards.

Key dates for media for 2017

3 March Deadline for parties to give notice for broadcasting allocation Deadline for parties to notify eligibility for broadcasting allocation for 2017
26 May Broadcasting allocation decision Initial broadcasting allocation decision published on Electoral Commission website
23 June Start of the regulated period The three month period before election day where party, candidate and third party election expense limits apply for advertising published during this period
22 July Electoral signs Special rules allow signs up to 3 square metres to go up from this date subject to local authority rules about location
23 August Writ day Broadcasting allocation can be used to advertise on television, radio and the internet. Candidate election programmes can also be broadcast on radio and television from this date
24 August to noon 29 August Nomination period

Bulk nominations of candidates and party lists to be lodged with the Electoral Commission by noon 28 August

Individual candidate nominations to be lodged with the Returning Officer by noon 29 August

Media can request contact details for candidates from the Electoral Commission after the nomination period

6 September Overseas voting begins  
11 September Advance voting begins  
22 September Day before election day End of the regulated period. All campaign signage and advertising must be removed before midnight
23 September Election day Voters can vote between 9am and 7pm. No campaigning is allowed on election day
7 October Official results 2pm target for the release of official results
11 October Judicial recount deadline Three working days after the official count
12 October Return of writ and declaration of list MPs This is the date for the return of the writ showing successful electorate candidates and the declaration of election of list members (assuming there are no judicial recounts)
11 December Broadcasting allocation invoices Deadline for parties to submit invoices for broadcasting allocation costs to the Electoral Commission

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Last updated: 30 March 2017