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Vote in elections

Any New Zealand citizen and permanent resident who is 18 or over and whose name is on either the Māori or general electoral roll before election day can vote in a general election. Each voter has two votes to cast — a party vote and an electorate vote. This is how New Zealand citizens choose who represents them in Parliament. This electoral system is called mixed-member proportional representation or MMP.

More detailed information about elections in New Zealand from elections.org.nz

Your party vote

Your party vote is important because it helps decide the share of the 120* seats in Parliament that is allocated to each political party. If a party crosses the minimum ’threshold’ (either by winning at least one electorate seat, or 5% of all party votes) it has seats allocated to it in close proportion to the percentage of party votes it receives. A party's share of seats is filled first by candidates who win electorate seats and then by candidates from the party list.

Your electorate vote

Your electorate vote helps decide who your local member of Parliament will be. There’s a different choice of candidates in each of the 64 general electorates (one more than in the 2011 election) and seven Māori electorates. Each candidate usually represents a political party, but a candidate may stand for election independent of a party. The candidate who wins the most electorate votes wins the seat.

Voting outcomes: overhang seats*

‘Overhang’ occurs when a party wins more electorate seats than the total share of seats it would otherwise be allocated based on its share of party votes. The overhang seats (the number above the party vote entitlement) are added to the usual 120 seats until the following general election.

Voting outcomes: the 2014 general election

At the conclusion of the 2014 General Election there are seven political parties represented by 121 members of Parliament in the 51st Parliament. There are 50 list, 64 general electorate, and seven Māori electorate members of Parliament in the House of Representatives.