Monday, October 6, 2008

General Election - Voter Participation in New Zealand

With the enrollment deadline approaching this Wednesday, 93 percent of eligible voters are enrolled for New Zealand's General Election on 8 November.

In the 2005 election, voter participation was 81 percent of all those enrolled, with 82 percent participation in the general electorates and 67 percent in Maori electorates.

Voter participation in the 2002 and 2005 elections was sharply down from the average 90.3 percent in the period between 1946 and 1999 and may indicate a greater malaise in the New Zealand electorate.

By comparison, voter turnout in US Federal elections averages only 50-55 percent of eligible voters. Compulsory voting has been required in Australia since 1924 resulting in voter turnout averaging 95 percent of eligible voters in modern national elections.


Nikitin said...

Kia ora. The official figures miss out 500,000 voters overseas - and the enrolment rate goes down to a mediocre 79% if those of us offshore are eligible to vote. Email me at for more info - and Kiwis offshore can go to to enrol and vote. In the last election, only 28,000 Kiwis voted from offshore - only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands eligible.

- Nikitin Sallee
Manager, Special Projects
Kea New Zealand (

Nikitin said...

And to clarify ... Kiwis overseas can enrol online right up to a couple of days before the election. Go to for all the info. (The publicity about the rolls closing is for the "printed roll", which doesn't affect overseas voters.) Spread the word to all you potential NZ voters overseas! Cheers.

- Nikitin