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Rule change for overseas voting

Mar 31, 2023 | Media release

The rules for overseas voting are changing from today for this year’s General Election to recognise the effect the pandemic has had on international travel.

‘This is a temporary change made by Parliament for New Zealanders living overseas who have been unable to return home in the past 3 years,’ says Karl Le Quesne, Chief Electoral Officer.

From 31 March, if you’re a New Zealand citizen living overseas, you can enrol and vote if you have been in New Zealand within the last 6 years (previously 3 years).

If you’re a New Zealand permanent resident living overseas, you can enrol and vote if you have been in New Zealand within the last 4 years (previously 12 months).

You must also be 18 years or older and have lived in New Zealand for more than 12 months continuously at some time in your life to be eligible to enrol and vote.

The law change applies for the 2023 General Election which will be held on 14 October. After the election, the eligibility criteria will go back to 3 years for New Zealand citizens and 12 months for permanent residents.

‘We encourage New Zealanders living overseas to check their eligibility and update their enrolment details if they need to at,’ says Karl Le Quesne.

Information about the 2023 General Election will be sent to all enrolled voters at the end of July, including those with an overseas postal address. The Electoral Commission’s website, brochures and enrolment form have been updated to include the change for overseas voters.

There are about 72,000 people who are enrolled and have an overseas postal address. 62% are in Australia, 16% are in the United Kingdom, and 6% are in the United States of America.

In March, the electorates with the highest numbers of electors with an overseas address were Wellington Central (3,397), Epsom (2,520), Auckland Central (2,228), and Rongotai (2,091).

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