Party Secretary handbook


Referendums on the End of Life Choice Act 2019 and the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill will be held with the general election. There are advertising rules and spending limits for the referendums, similar to those for third parties at a general election. This page will help explain how the referendum rules apply to you.

Advertising and campaigning

All advertisments relating to the election in any medium will need a promoter statement.

From 1 January 2020, parties and candidates can't keep overseas donations greater than $50.

Enrolling and voting

People can enrol to vote online using their driver license, passport or RealMe verified identity.

Voters in New Zealand will be able to enrol on election day.

Prisoners sentenced to less than 3 years imprisonment will be eligible to vote.

Counting votes and releasing results

Referendum votes will not be counted on election night - we'll count referendum votes after election day. We'll release primary results (ordinary referendum votes) for each referendum on Friday 30 October.

We'll process and count overseas votes in Wellington rather than in the electorates.

The period for declaring the official results and returning the writ has been extended. After we count special votes, we'll release the official results for the general election and referendums on Friday 6 November.

Key dates for a party secretary

This table shows the key dates you need to know as a party secretary for the 17 October 2020 General Election.


What happens

Monday 10 August

Individual nomination forms, bulk nominations and party lists can be lodged from this date

Tuesday 18 August

The regulated period starts

During the regulated period, any advertising you run to promote your party or an option on the referendum counts towards your expense limits

Sunday 13 September 

Writ day

You can start using your party’s broadcasting allocation to advertise on TV and radio

Thursday 17 September 

Noon is the deadline to get your bulk nomination schedules and party lists to us

Friday 18 September 

Noon is the deadline for electorate candidates to get their individual nomination forms to us, and for you or your candidates to withdraw any nominations

Wednesday 30 September 

Overseas voting starts

Saturday 3 October

Advance voting starts. You can’t campaign with 10 metres of an advance voting place

Friday 16 October

The regulated period finishes

You must take down all campaign signs before midnight

Saturday 17 October

Election day

Voters can vote between 9am and 7pm. You can’t campaign on election day

Friday 30 October

Preliminary referendum results will be released (ordinary votes)

Friday 6 November

We declare the official results for the general election and referendums

We aim to release the results by 2pm

Thursday 12 November

If there are no judicial recounts, we return the writ showing elected electorate candidates and declare the elected list members of Parliament (MPs)

Monday 1 February 2021

The deadline for sending us your party's invoices for broadcasting allocation costs

Wednesday 17 February 2021

The deadline for your candidates to send us their election expenses and donations returns

Wednesday 17 March 2021

The deadline for reporting your party's election and referendum expenses to us



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