Part 1: Nominating electorate and list candidates

This section explains the rules in the Electoral Act 1993 about when and how electorate and list candidates are nominated. The Electoral Commission will also run a training session for parties on the nomination system in August 2017.

Key messages

The deadline for individual nominations is noon 29 August
The deadline for party list candidate and bulk nominations by registered party secretaries is noon 28 August
A nomination cannot be withdrawn after noon on nomination day (noon 29 August)

Types of candidates

There are two types of candidates under the MMP electoral system:

  • electorate (or constituency) candidates who stand for election in electorates
  • list candidates on party lists who may be elected through the party vote.

A candidate can be both an electorate and a list candidate.

Candidate eligibility

A candidate must:

  • be enrolled as a voter (but may stand in an electorate though enrolled in another electorate)
  • be a New Zealand citizen, and
  • not be disqualified from enrolling.

The main grounds of disqualification for enrolment that could affect eligibility to be a candidate are:

  • the person is a New Zealand citizen who is outside New Zealand and has not been in New Zealand within the last three years
  • the person is in prison serving a prison sentence.

There are exceptions to these rules. For example, in relation to public servants or members of the Defence Force who are on duty outside New Zealand, as well as members of their families.

There are other grounds of disqualification that affect a very small number of people. [For more details see section 80 of the Electoral Act]

Bankruptcy is not a ground for disqualification.

If a candidate was born overseas, the party secretary will be asked to provide evidence with the nomination paperwork that the candidate is a New Zealand citizen (such as a copy of a certificate of citizenship or a New Zealand passport).

Deadlines

The deadlines described in this part are set by law and the Electoral Commission has no power to extend them even for a few minutes. It is in your interest to submit nominations and the party list well before the deadline so that any problems can be sorted out in time.

A summary of bulk nomination and party list deadlines is provided at Appendix A.

Nomination of state servants, etc

The Commission does not treat the nominations of state servants, board members of Crown entities and directors of Crown companies any differently from the nominations of other candidates. However, section 52 of the Electoral Act contains special rules for some state servants who stand as candidates.

To avoid the possibility of real or perceived conflicts of interest, the Electoral Act requires such state servants who stand as candidates to take leave of absence from nomination day until the first working day after election day.

An employer may require these state servants to take leave before nomination day if they believe the candidate’s responsibilities as a state servant make this necessary. If elected, a state servant is deemed to have vacated their position.

Prospective candidates who are state servants for the purposes of the Electoral Act are recommended to discuss their nomination with their employer and consult the guidelines issued by the State Services Commissioner (SSC) (refer www.ssc.govt.nz).

Nominations

A registered political party can either:

  • make a bulk nomination of its electorate candidates through the Commission, or
  • require its electorate candidates to arrange their nominations with the Returning Officer for the electorate they are standing in by completing the individual nomination form.

You can use one method or the other, but not both. Most registered parties find the bulk nomination system preferable and also use the Commission’s online system. The key to a smooth process is to stay in close touch with the Commission and wherever possible complete nominations well ahead of the legal deadline.

If you do not wish to use the bulk nomination system or you are an unregistered party, use the individual nomination form for each candidate and refer to our handbook Candidate Handbook – General Election 2017.

Bulk nominations

Notifying intention

If your party decides to use the bulk nomination process, you need to formally tell the Commission by completing the Notice of Intention to complete a Bulk Nomination form. The last legal date to submit this form is one working day after writ day (24 August). If you change your mind, complete the Withdrawal of Notice of Intention to complete a Bulk Nomination form. The Notice of Intention form will also ask you whether you wish to use the Commission’s online system. If so, we will give you a login ID and password together with a user guide approximately two weeks before writ day. You will be able to complete the Bulk Nomination Schedule online, print it, sign the declaration form and deliver it, after writ day, by hand, post, fax or email to the Commission.

Lodging a bulk nomination schedule

To lodge the schedule, you must:

  1. Complete the bulk nomination schedule which includes details of the candidates. The schedule records each candidate’s electorate to be contested, their full names, the names to appear on the ballot paper if different to their full names, and the electorate that they are enrolled in
  2. Attach a completed consent form from each candidate. Dual candidates can use one form to consent to being on the bulk nomination schedule and the party list.
  3. Include a deposit of $300 (GST inclusive) for each candidate with the schedule. The deposit for all candidates must be paid either by one bank draft or bank cheque made out to ‘Electoral Commission Trust Account’, or by direct credit into the following account:
    Electoral Commission Trust Account
    BNZ
    02 0506 0077208 00
    If you pay by direct credit, you must include your party name as the reference and provide evidence of the deposit (including the time and date of the deposit) with your schedule. This could be either a copy of your receipt from the bank or a copy of your online transaction confirmation. You need to ensure that you allow sufficient time for your payment to be processed by your bank before the deadline. Do not use direct credit as a form of payment on the day before nomination day. (For information on the refund of this deposit see Part 8 of this handbook).
  4. Sign the statutory declaration in the schedule stating that you are satisfied that each candidate on the schedule is qualified to be a constituency candidate.
  5. Lodge the completed schedule and deposit or evidence of deposit, directly with the Commission, no later than noon on the day before nomination day (noon 28 August).

While the deadline is noon 28 August, we recommend that you contact the Commission and arrange to come in to lodge the schedule as soon as possible after writ day (23 August). This ensures that any problems can be discussed and resolved before the deadline expires.

Rejection of bulk nomination schedule

A bulk nomination schedule will be rejected if:

  • the Commission was not notified in time that the party would use the bulk nomination process
  • the schedule was not lodged by noon on the day before nomination day (noon 28 August)
  • the schedule does not contain the party secretary’s declaration that candidates are qualified to stand, or
  • the deposit for each candidate was not paid by noon on the day before nomination day (noon 28 August).

Rejection of a constituency candidate or candidate on a party list

A candidate will be rejected, and the party list order of preference amended as necessary, if:

  • the candidate is nominated using a name that is neither their given name nor the name that they are commonly known by
  • the candidate is not qualified to be a candidate, or
  • the candidate’s consent to nomination is not submitted.

Amending a bulk nomination schedule

You have until noon on nomination day (29 August) to correct defects or irregularities in a bulk nomination schedule, or any other document that you have lodged with the schedule. This does not permit you to substitute or add new candidates to the schedule.

Withdrawing a bulk nomination schedule

You can withdraw a bulk nomination schedule and, if you wish, lodge another bulk nomination schedule but your new schedule must be lodged by noon on the day before nomination day (28 August).

To withdraw a schedule, complete the Withdrawal of Bulk Nomination Schedule form and sign the form in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor.

If you are using our online system, you can make changes to your electronic schedule at any time prior to printing and submission of your schedule. It is only after that submission that you would need to use the withdrawal procedures.

Withdrawing a nomination

A candidate can withdraw their nomination from a bulk nomination schedule and you can nominate another. If the withdrawal is before your formal submission of the schedule, you simply substitute the new name, consent form etc. If the withdrawal is after you have formally submitted your schedule, you will need to get the person withdrawing to complete the Withdrawal of Nomination from Bulk Nomination form and sign the form in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or solicitor and send the nomination details of the replacement candidate, consent form etc. to the Commission. You have until noon on nomination day (29 August) to do this.

Nominating list candidates

The deadline for lodging your party list is noon 28 August 2017.

Lodging the List

To lodge your party list, you must:

  1. Complete the party list and declaration form. This form sets out the candidates in order of preference and contains their name, address and phone number. You should liaise with list candidates about their details to be recorded on the list. You may use the online system to prepare the party list. When you are ready, you should print it, sign it and deliver it to the Commission by hand, post, fax or email. The form also includes a statutory declaration stating:
    • that you are satisfied that each candidate named on the list is qualified to be a candidate. A candidate must be enrolled as a voter, be a New Zealand citizen, and not be disqualified from enrolment. You should ask candidates not born in New Zealand to produce evidence of their New Zealand citizenship, such as a copy of their certificate of citizenship or New Zealand passport, and
    • whether the party has one or more component parties and, if so, the name of the component parties.Attach a completed consent form from each candidate. Dual candidates can use one form to consent to being on the bulk nomination schedule and the party list.
  2. Provide a deposit of $1,000 (GST inclusive). The deposit must be paid either by bank draft or bank cheque made out to ‘Electoral Commission Trust Account’, or direct credit into the following account:
    Electoral Commission Trust Account
    BNZ
    02 0506 0077208 00
    If you pay by direct credit, you must include your party name as the reference and provide evidence of the deposit (including the time and date of the deposit) with your schedule. This could be either a copy of your receipt from the bank or a copy of your online transaction confirmation. You need to ensure that you allow sufficient time for your payment to be processed by your bank before the deadline. Do not use direct credit as a form of payment on the day before nomination day. For information on the refund of this deposit see Part 8 of this handbook.
  3. Provide a completed consent form from every candidate. Dual candidates can use one form to consent to being on both a Bulk Nomination Schedule and the party list.
  4. Provide the completed party list form, deposit or evidence of deposit and consent forms to the Commission no later than noon on the day before nomination day (28 August). There is no discretion to extend the deadline.

While the deadline for lodging the party list is 28 August, we recommend that you lodge the list as soon as possible after writ day (23 August), ideally at the same time as you lodge your bulk nomination schedule.

This ensures that any problems can be discussed and resolved before nomination day.

Lodging one deposit for both the party list and bulk nomination is fine.

Rejection of List

A party list will be rejected if:

  • the list and completed form were not lodged by noon on the day before nomination day (28 August), or
  • the deposit was not paid by noon on the day before nomination day (28 August).

Withdrawing a List

You can make changes to your party list on the online system up until the time of formal submission to the Electoral Commission.

After submission, if you wish to withdraw the list, you need to complete the Withdrawal of Party List form. Note that both the withdrawal and the submission of a new list (if any) must be completed by noon on nomination day.

Notice of change in component parties

You must tell the Commission of any change in the component parties of the party occurring before election day. Notification must be by statutory declaration (Notice of Change of Party List Declaration) and made as soon as possible after it occurs.

Death or incapacity of a candidate

There are procedures in the Electoral Act that you must follow if a candidate dies or is incapacitated before nomination day, or between nomination day and the declaration of the official result. Contact the Commission urgently if this happens.

You may apply to cancel the nomination of a candidate in a bulk nomination schedule or a party list who has become incapacitated.

The application must be:

  • on the Commission's form to cancel a candidate nomination on grounds of incapacity
  • be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor, and
  • include a medical certificate relating to the candidate’s condition.

Order on ballot paper

Electorate candidates are arranged alphabetically by surname on the right-hand side of the ballot paper with any registered logo to the right of the name (the electorate vote).

If the candidate’s party is contesting the party vote, the name of the party is printed opposite the name of the candidate on the left-hand side of the ballot paper (the party vote).

If the candidate is an independent, the space on the left-hand side of the ballot paper, opposite the candidate’s name, is left blank.

Parties contesting the party vote, but not the electorate vote, are listed alphabetically on the lefthand side of the ballot paper, after the other parties standing candidates.

Release of candidate information

Individual nomination forms are available for public inspection by a registered elector of that district at the Returning Officer's headquarters. Bulk nomination schedules and consent forms can be inspected by a registered elector at the office of the Electoral Commission in Wellington.

When all nominations and all party lists have been processed after nomination day, we will publish the names of candidates on www.elections.org.nz. We do not publish biographical information on parties or candidates or on their policies. We do not publish candidates’ telephone numbers or email addresses.

It is common for the media to ask for the telephone or email contact details for candidates, in which case we will release them unless you or the candidate tell us that they do not wish us to do so.

Last updated: 10 April 2017