Who can and can't enrol?

In New Zealand you must be on the electoral roll if you are eligible to enrol.

Basically you are qualified to enrol if:

  • you are 18 years or older AND
  • you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident AND
  • you have lived in New Zealand for one year or more continuously at some point.

* If you are a Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Australian orTokelauan you can enrol once you have lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months.  You do not require permanent residency to be eligible to enrol and vote.

There are some restrictions. These are described below, and also listed on the enrolment form. You can download an enrolment form at the bottom of this page, phone us free on 0800 36 76 56 or send your name and address to Freetext 3676, and we will post a form out to you.

Some people in New Zealand are excluded from enrolling and voting.

You cannot enrol if:

  • you are a New Zealand citizen but outside New Zealand and have not been in New Zealand within the last three years; or
  • you are a permanent resident of New Zealand but outside New Zealand and have not been in New Zealand within the last 12 months.

A permanent resident is someone who has not taken up citizenship but who is entitled by law to live permanently in New Zealand. If you have to leave the country by a set date you are not a permanent resident for electoral purposes. This includes people who have student or visitor permits.

*NOTE that there are exceptions to the above two rules for example, public servants or members of the Defence Force who are on duty outside New Zealand, as well as members of their families. If you are unsure call 0800 36 76 56 or talk to your local Registrar of Electors.

 

Are people who are in prison or psychiatric institutions entitled to enrol?

People who are in prison serving a sentence of imprisonment are not entitled to enrol and vote. However, a person who is on remand awaiting sentence is eligible to enrol and vote.  People who have been in a psychiatric hospital for more than three years after being charged with a criminal offence are also not eligible to enrol. Other psychiatric patients are entitled to enrol.

There are other grounds of disqualification that affect a very small number of people. Registrars of Electors are notified of people covered by any such ground. A Registrar of Electors would contact any person applying to enrol who appeared to be subject to such disqualification to discuss his or her qualification to enrol. However, if you have any questions or concerns about other grounds of disqualification, call 0800 36 76 56.

View the legislation covering eligibility to enrol.

 

Find out more about eligibility, enrolling and voting from overseas here.

Find out more about eligibility of those with a disability here.

 

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Last updated: 07 October 2015