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Media advisory - Election Resources

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has compiled a list of useful resources for journalists in the lead up to this month’s general election.

The Ministry has a wealth of information available about New Zealand’s political and election history.

This includes extensive information on the 1993 MMP Referendum that provides background and context to this year’s referendum on changing the voting system.

The Ministry also has several experts on politics and political history available to provide information and comment about New Zealand general elections.

NZHistory contains a comprehensive section about the history of New Zealand elections including:

•facts and figures of previous general elections, history dates, number of MPs, number of registered voters and official turnout

•MMP Referendum – includes information on the 1993 referendum that led to the introduction of the current mixed member proportional system of voting, the most dramatic change to New Zealand’s electoral system since women’s suffrage

•political and constitutional milestones in an easy-to-read timeline with links to more detailed information

•Māori and the vote, the development of a separate electoral system for Māori

•women and the vote, the suffrage campaign and a timeline of suffrage milestones

•election days, how the experience of voting has evolved from staggered elections over weeks or months to a single day

•voting methods, the switch from verbal voting to secret ballots, attempts to influence voters, election night drunken brawls

•electioneering, political advertising, campaigning, the role of radio and TV.

Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand, has issued an election special on Parliamentary elections and parties.  This includes seven new entries drawn from its forthcoming theme on Government and Nation.  Written by prominent political scientists, historians and journalists, the entries cover the following items of relevance to the forthcoming election:

• Electoral systems
Labour Party
Māori representation
• National Party
• Parliament
• Political parties
•Premiers and prime ministers.

The new section includes some exciting interactive diagrams which show the changing distribution over time of seats in Parliament by party.

Te Ara also has a range of election information in its New Zealand in Brief theme under Nation and government and History.

Further information on the electoral system, previous elections and results can also be found on


The following people are available for interview or to comment on election articles.

•    Neill Atkinson, Chief Historian, ph 04 496 6355

•    Nigel Roberts, Te Ara theme editor and political scientist, ph 04 463 5288 wk, 04 938 7543

•    Jock Phillips, Senior Historian and editor of Te Ara, ph 04 496 6346,

For more information contact Lucy Orbell, Communications Advisor, 04 496 6176, mob 027 622 2.

Updated on 23rd July 2015