There are detailed rules in the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 on what parties and candidates can and cannot do when campaigning. Find out more about New Zealand's political parties, including expenses and donation returns.
Political parties registered with the Electoral Commission may:
- contest the party vote
- be considered for an allocation of free time and money to broadcast election advertising.
Registered parties have a party election expense limit on top of the election expense limit available to every electorate candidate.
The main requirements for registration are that a party has:
- a name that is not likely to cause offence or confusion, or which refers to a title or honour, or is too long
- 500 or more current financial members eligible to enrol as electors; and
- an auditor.
Being registered requires a party to have, amongst other things, rules providing for the democratic participation of members in candidate selection.They must also make annual returns of donations, declarations that they have at least 500 current financial members and the intent to contest elections, and make party election expense declarations. Most of these declarations and returns are available for public inspection. Copies of registered political parties' rules are provided as downloadable pdf documents below.
Registration is only relevant to electoral-related law and does not change or establish the legal type of entity a party has or chooses to have (such as incorporated or unincorporated society, limited liability company, etc).
Unregistered parties may contest electorate seats at any general or by-election. All electorate candidates must make individual election expense returns, including donations received for their campaigns. The election expense returns for all candidates of an unregistered party must together cover all the election expenses of that party.
Registered political parties can nominate a party list to contest the party vote, be considered for an allocation of election broadcast advertising time and funds, and have a party election expense limit on top of the election expense limit available to every electorate candidate.
Find out more about how to register a political party here.