Candidate handbook for the 2020 General Election

This section explains what happens after the election including reporting your expenses and donations, getting nomination deposits back, recounts and input into the parliamentary review of the election.

Report your expenses and donations to us

If you’re an electorate candidate, you must report your election expenses and donations to us.

Send us your return by 17 February 2021

You must send us a return of your expenses and donations within 70 days of election day – by 17 February 2021.

Use the Return of Electorate Candidate Donations and Expenses form to make your return. You can get the form from us or your party secretary.

Send us a return even if you don’t have any expenses or donations

If you have no election expenses or donations to report on, you must still complete a return form and send it to us. The form will tell you how to show you have no expenses or donations.

Send us your referendum expense return by 17 February 2021

If you spent over $100,000 on referendum advertising in respect of either referendum, you must also report your referendum expenses.

You must send us a return of your referendum expenses within 70 working days of election day - by 17 February 2021.

Use the Return of Referendum Expenses form to make your return. You can contact us to get the form.

The form will guide you through the returns process

The return form includes detailed advice about how to complete your return and send it to us.

We’ll release your return to the public

We’ll publish your return on our website. Members of the public can also visit us to view the return forms.

You may be able to get your nomination deposit back

If you’re an electorate candidate, we may be able to pay your $300 nomination deposit back to you.

You must get at least 5 percent of the vote

We can only pay your deposit back if you got at least 5 percent of the votes cast for all candidates in the electorate you contested.

You must send us your return before we can refund your deposit

We can only pay your deposit back once we have your return of election expenses and donations. If your party nominated you through its bulk nomination schedule, we can only pay your deposit back once we have the returns of all the candidates on the schedule.

You can apply for a recount or challenge a result

If you’re an electorate candidate, you can apply for a recount of the vote or challenge a result in the electorate you contested.

Only party secretaries can apply for a recount of the party vote or challenge the election of list candidates.

Apply to a District Court Judge for a judicial recount

You can apply to a District Court Judge for a recount of the electorate vote in the electorate you contested. A recount automatically happens if the official count leads to a tie.

You must apply within 3 working days of us declaring the official election results – by Wednesday 11 November. Include a deposit of $1,022.22 (including GST) with your application.

The judge must start the recount within 3 working days of getting your application. They’ll tell the other candidates when and where the recount will take place.

If the judge finds the official count was wrong, we’ll change the final result.

Filing an election petition to challenge a result

An election petition is the only way you can challenge the election of an electorate candidate.

You must file your petition before the High Court within 28 days of us declaring the official election results – by Friday 4 December. Three High Court Judges will hear the petition. You can find out more in the Constituency ElectionPetition Rules 2008: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2008/0383/latest/DLM1647201.html

You can have your say on election law

After the election, the Justice Select Committee will usually conduct an inquiry into the election. The inquiry will let you share your thoughts on election laws and administration with the select committee.

You can read more about the Committee on the Parliament website: www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/scl/justice/

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