There are two types of candidates under the MMP electoral system:
- electorate (or constituency) candidates who stand for election in electorates,
- list candidates who are named on party lists and may be elected by reason of the party vote.
A candidate can be both an electorate candidate and a list candidate.
2.2 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 sentenced to imprisonment.
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 certificate of citizenship or a copy of a New Zealand passport).
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 at Appendix B.
Nomination day is by law required to be in the period between 20 and 27 days before election day.
2.4 State servants, board members of Crown entities and directors of Crown companies – implications of nomination
The Electoral 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 any candidates who are state servants. The term ‘state servant’ is widely defined as: public servants; other persons employed under the State Sector Act (although members of staff of a tertiary education institution teaching students preparing for examinations may continue to work and be paid); members of the New Zealand Police; members of the NZ Defence Force (other than non-regular forces).
To avoid the possibility of real or perceived conflicts of interest, the Electoral Act requires 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 a state servant 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 are recommended to discuss their nomination with their employer and consult the guidelines issued by the State Services Commissioner (refer www.ssc.govt.nz).
Similarly, we suggest that board members of Crown entities should consult the State Services Commissioner and directors of Crown companies should consult the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit.
2.5 Bulk nomination of electorate candidates
A registered political party can either:
- make a bulk nomination of its electorate candidates through the Electoral Commission, or
- require its electorate candidates to arrange their nominations with the Returning Officer for the electorate they are standing in by completing nomination form M40-Nom.
A party can use one method or the other, but not both. Most registered parties find the bulk nomination system preferable and also use the Electoral Commission’s on-line system. The key to a smooth process is to stay in close touch with the Electoral 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 form M40-Nom for each candidate and refer to our booklet Candidate Handbook – General Elections.)
A summary of bulk nomination (and party list) deadlines is at Appendix B.
If your party decides to use the bulk nomination process, you need to formally tell the Electoral Commission. You will need to complete form M41-Int. The last legal date to submit this form is one working day after writ day. If you change your mind, complete form M41-Int Wd.
Form M41-Int will also ask you to tell us whether you wish to use the Electoral Commission’s on-line system. If so, we will give you a login ID and password together with a guide on usage approximately two weeks before writ day. You will be able to complete the bulk nomination schedule on-line, print it, sign the declaration form and deliver it, after writ day, by hand, post or fax to the Electoral Commission.
Completing a bulk nomination schedule
To complete the schedule, you must:
- complete form M41-Sch 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,
- attach a completed consent form (M-Cons) for each candidate. The same form can be used by a candidate to consent to inclusion of their name in the bulk nomination schedule, on the party list, or both,
- include a deposit of $300 (GST inclusive) for each candidate, with the schedule. The deposit for all candidates must be on one bank draft or bank cheque made out to ‘Electoral Commission Trust Account’. For information on refund of deposits see Part 7 of this booklet,
- 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,
- lodge the completed schedule and deposit, directly with the Electoral Commission, no later than noon on the day before nomination day.
While the deadline is noon on the day before nomination day, we recommend that you lodge the schedule and contact the Electoral Commission and arrange to come in as soon as possible after writ day. 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 Electoral 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,
- 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.
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 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. To withdraw a schedule complete form M41-Sch Wd and sign the form in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor.
If you are using our on-line 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 need to get the person withdrawing to complete form M41-Cand Wd 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 Electoral Commission. You have until noon on nomination day to do this.
2.6 Nominating list candidates
A summary of the deadlines for lodging your party list (and bulk nominations of electorate candidates) is at Appendix B.
Lodging the List
To lodge your party list, you must:
complete form M224-PL and Dec. 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 on-line system to prepare the party list. When you are ready, you should print it, sign it and deliver it to the Electoral Commission by hand, post or fax. 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 certificate of citizenship or a copy of their passport, and
- whether the party has one or more component parties; and, if so, the name of the component parties,
- provide a bank draft or bank cheque with a deposit of $1,000 (GST inclusive) made out to ‘Electoral Commission Trust Account’. For information on the refund of this deposit see Part 7 of this booklet, and
- provide a completed consent form (M-Cons) for every candidate. Dual candidates can use one form to consent to being on a Bulk Nomination Schedule, on the party list, or both, and
- provide the completed form, deposit and consent forms to the Electoral Commission no later than noon on nomination day (there is no discretion to extend the deadline).
While the deadline for lodging the party list is noon on nomination day, we recommend that you lodge the list as soon as possible after writ day, 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.
Rejection of List
A party list will be rejected if:
- the list and completed form were not lodged by noon on nomination day, or
- the deposit was not paid by noon on nomination day.
Withdrawing a List
You can make changes to your party list on the electronic 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 form M224-Wd. Note that both the withdrawal and the submission of a new list (if any) must be completed by noon on nomination day.
2.7 Notice of change in component parties
You must tell the Electoral Commission of any change in the component parties of the party occurring before election day. Notification must be by statutory declaration (M224-Ch Dec) and made as soon as possible after it occurs.
2.8 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 Electoral 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 form M40-Canc,
- be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor, and
- include a medical certificate relating to the candidate’s condition.
2.9 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 empty.
Parties contesting the party vote, but not the electorate vote, are listed alphabetically on the left-hand side of the ballot paper, after the other parties.
2.10 Media and public queries on nominations
Completed nomination forms are available for public inspection at the Electoral Commission. 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. Nor do we publish candidates’ telephone numbers or e-mail addresses. It is common for the media to ask for the telephone numbers, in which case we will release them unless the party secretary or candidate tells us that they do not wish us to do so.
2.11 EasyVote pack for voters
About a week before election day each enrolled voter will receive a personal information pack containing:
- an EasyVote card (or letter if enrolled late) to take to the voting place,
- details of the voting places and advance voting facilities,
- names of candidates for their electorate,
- party lists for those parties contesting the party vote,
- the contact details of the local Returning Officer.
It will be helpful if you encourage your supporters to use the EasyVote card when voting. The card will save them time.