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“There's a lot of solutions from young people because we’re starting to own our whakapapa, we are in the new changing world and we’re exploring things for the first time. We’re willing to make big mistakes and willing to learn from other people.”

- Rosa

Why we vote

Voting is a powerful way to shape the way you and your whānau live. It affects our day to day lives, from the taxes we pay to the size of our public transport network and how much you pay to study. Think about your values and beliefs, what Aotearoa looks like now, and what it could be in the future. You have a right to support the party or person that you believe will make the right decisions for you.

There are two major elections we all get a say in: our local and general elections.

Local elections

Think of local elections as the time to decide who makes decisions about where you live on a more direct, everyday level. You get to pick the mayors and councillors who represent you in your city, district, and regional council.

  • Regional councils usually look after transport planning, environmental issues, and planning for natural disasters.
  • District and city councils usually look after local infrastructure like roads, parks, facilities like pools and libraries, rubbish collection and alcohol sales.

Some councils have Māori wards (for local councils) or constituencies (for regional councils), which are like the Māori electorates. If you are on the Māori electoral roll, you can vote for a candidate in the Māori ward or constituency. Voting for a Māori ward candidate gives you a say in how Māori are represented in your local area or region.

Local elections happen every three years by postal vote, so make sure your address is up to date on the electoral roll. You can check or update your address on the Electoral Commission website.

Read more about local government on LGNZ.

General elections

General elections for the national government happen every three years. Voting usually opens a couple of weeks before election day, so you have plenty of time to vote.

You get two votes in a general election: an electorate vote and a party vote:

  • Your electorate vote is based on where you live. The candidate who gets the highest number of votes wins a seat in Parliament and will be your local MP.
  • You give your party vote to the party that you want to lead the Government. Voting for them gives them a better chance of getting more seats in Parliament.

Learn more about general elections on the Electoral Commission website.

MMP, our voting system

Our Parliament is elected using the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system. MMP gives us more diverse representation. It makes sure that different people and ideas are represented in parliament.

It works this way: the more votes a party gets, the bigger the share of the party vote. This means more seats in Parliament, as long as this party gets at least 5% of the overall vote or they win an electorate seat.

Under MMP, governments are usually made of two or more parties. Smaller parties can be in government, and parties need to be prepared to work together. It means that you should take some time to research which party you feel represents you best, regardless of how small they may seem.

The video below is a great guide to how MMP works:

Video transcript available for Open Close
MMP - or mixed-member proportional - is the system we use in Aotearoa to choose the people and parties who represent us in
Parliament. Under MMP you get two votes every general election. Let's have a look at how they work.

Your first vote is for the political party you support. This is called the party vote. The more votes a party gets, the more seats they will have in
Parliament. If 40% of us vote for the Cherry party it will get around 40% of all the seats in parliament, if 10% of us vote for the Pear party it will get about 10% of the

To get any seats in parliament a party must win at least 5% of the party vote or win an electorate seat - that's where
your second vote comes in. Your second vote is to choose a Member of Parliament to represent the area you live in.

This is your electorate vote. The candidate who gets the most votes in your electorate will become your local MP. So - if the Banana party wins 4% of the party vote, but no electorate seats, they have no members in parliament.

But if they win 4% of the party vote and also win an electorate seat, then they are entitled to 4% of all the seats in parliament. This 4% would be made up of their one electorate MP with the rest being list MPs from their Party List.

Because MMP is a proportional system there can be a range of big and small parties in Parliament. Every candidate who wins an electorate
gets a seat in Parliament. The remaining seats are filled from party lists according to their share of the party vote.

Under MMP, parties might not have a large enough share of the votes to govern alone, so it's common to get support from other
parties to form a government. The political party or group of parties with more than half the seats becomes the government.

If you would like to find out more about New Zealand's political system and voting in Aotearoa visit

Enrolling to vote

Voting isn’t compulsory in Aotearoa, but enrolling to vote is. You need to enrol if:

  • You’re 18 and over.
  • You’re a citizen or permanent resident of Aotearoa.
  • You've lived in Aotearoa continuously for 12 months at some time in your life.

Enrolling is an easy process. You can enrol online, or in person when you vote. You can also enrol once you turn 17, so you’ll be automatically sorted to vote by your 18th birthday.

See the video below for an easy guide to voting.

Video transcript available for How to enrol to vote Open Close
Do you want your voice to count? To be a part of something important? It's easy! Enrol to vote to have your say in New Zealand's future. Enrolling or

updating your details when you move is super simple - just go to - it only takes five minutes. All you need is your New Zealand driver license, New Zealand

passport or your RealMe verified identity. And even without any of these you can fill out the form online and have it emailed or posted to you to sign and return.

If you get stuck, or need any help, you can always call us on 0800 36 76 56or visit our Facebook page. Get onto it now, if you enrol early voting will be

faster and easier on the day. You can enrol to vote in New Zealand if you're 18 or over, and you're a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and you've

lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months or more at some time in your life. Once you're on the electoral roll you can vote in parliamentary elections,

local elections, and referendums - this is how your voice gets heard. If you have any concerns about your personal safety, you can ask to go on the confidential

unpublished role. We'll keep your enrolment details secure and we won't give them to anyone. If your Māori and you're enrolling for the first time you

can choose to go on the Māori roll or the general roll. It's up to you! If you choose the Māori roll, you'll vote for a candidate in a Māori electorate. And if

you choose the general roll, you'll vote for a candidate in a general electorate. You get to choose from the same list of political parties whether you've chosen

the general role or the Māori roll. Once you choose roles, you can only change roles during the Māori Electoral Option, which takes place about every

five years. There's more information about this, and everything we've talked about in this video, on our website Enrolling is easy, and means you get

to have your say in New Zealand's future.

Voting on the Māori roll

Māori can choose to enrol on the Māori roll or the General roll.

The political parties are the same on both rolls. The difference will be your choice of candidates and electorate areas. If you are on the Māori Roll, you will vote for a candidate in the Māori electorate that you live in. The winning candidate gets one of seven Māori seats in parliament.

Your roll choice can also affect the number of Māori seats in Parliament. The more people we see on the Māori Roll, the more Māori seats there will be.

Deciding who to vote for

Your vote is entirely your personal decision, and there are many ways to get informed. You can follow candidates and parties on social media, go to their public meetings, or check out decision making websites such as

Have an open mind and talk with your whānau, friends, or those you look up to. Think about what matters to you now and in the future, and what you like or don’t like about where you live. The goal is to find out which party has policies that represent you and things you care about.

“For me, finding my voice was about finding others who are like minded, who also wanted to convey their voice. If you have opinions on anything around you, there are ways to be able to uplift that, and your vote is actually your first contribution to that. Absolutely everything around you is determined and affected by your vote.”

- Rosa