Electoral Laws and Legislation

This page provides lists and links to current laws and regulations relevant to parliamentary and local authority elections, and other electoral matters (such as school Board of Trustee elections). 

These laws and regulations sit online at New Zealand Legislation, which has a useful user guide.

Links to administering agencies have been provided when the law or regulation is not the administrative responsibility of the Electoral Commission, and you should contact these agencies with any follow-up questions or actions.

Parliamentary elections

  • Broadcasting Act 1989 - Part 6 sets out the law covering election advertising on radio and television by parties and electorate candidates, the allocation of time and money to political parties for this purpose by the Electoral Commission, and the requirements for broadcasters to supply returns of election advertising. It also makes the Broadcasting Standards Authority responsible for hearing complaints about election advertising on radio and television (as well as its usual role in respect of other programming), and provides that all election related complaints may be made direct to it.
  • Constitution Act 1986 - Part 3 establishes the House of Representatives, sets the maximum term of Parliament and the maximum time before Parliament must meet following an election. The Act establishes New Zealand’s constitutional framework of the Head of State, the Executive, the Legislature, and protects High Court judges from political interference. Inquiries about its administration should be made to the relevant institution(s).
  • Electoral Act 1993  - Establishes the electoral agencies, electoral system, election processes (including that for disputing results), how MPs are replaced between elections, registration processes for political parties and logos, enrolment and electoral roll requirements, and provides for the Māori Electoral option, and the Representation Commission. See also:


  • Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993   - Sets out the requirements for approval of wording for a question to be put to referendum, the conduct of a petition calling for a non-binding referendum, and the mechanisms for holding a referendum once the criteria is met. The Act is administered by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Electoral Commission.
  • Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000 - Sets out mechanisms for conducting a citizens' or government initiated referendum by post.
  • Electoral Referendum Act 2010 - Made provision for an indicative referendum to be held in conjunction with the 2011 General Election on the preferred system of voting.  

Local, district health board, and school elections


Last updated: 20 October 2014