New Zealand general election, 2011

New Zealand general election, 2011
New Zealand
2008 ←
26 November 2011 (2011-11-26)[1]
elected members
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All 120 seats (plus any overhangs) in the New Zealand House of Representatives
61 seats are needed for a majority
Opinion polls
  John Key headshot.jpg Labour Leader Phil Goff in Hamilton.JPG Metiria Turei and Russel Norman.jpg
Leader John Key Phil Goff Russel Norman /
Metiria Turei
Party National Labour Green
Leader since 2006 2008 2006 / 2009
Leader's seat Helensville Mount Roskill List
Last election 58 seats, 44.93% 43 seats, 33.99% 9 seats, 6.72%
Current seats 58 42 9
Seats needed increase3 increase19 increase52

  below below Peter Dunne.jpg
Leader Don Brash Tariana Turia /
Pita Sharples
Peter Dunne
Party ACT Māori United Future
Leader since 2011 2004
(party foundation)
(party foundation)
Leader's seat (outside Parliament) Te Tai Hauāuru /
Tāmaki Makaurau
Last election 5 seats, 3.65% 5 seats, 2.39% 1 seat, 0.87%
Current seats 5 4 1
Seats needed increase56 increase57 increase60

Incumbent Prime Minister

John Key

The 2011 New Zealand general election on Saturday 26 November 2011[1] will determine membership of the 50th New Zealand Parliament.

One hundred and twenty MPs will be elected to the New Zealand House of Representatives, 70 from single-member electorates throughout the country, and 50 from party lists. New Zealand since 1996 has used the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system, giving voters two votes: one for a political party and the other for their local electorate MP. A referendum on the voting method will be held at the same time as the election.[2]

After the 2008 election, John Key's National Party was able to form a minority government. It held a plurality with 58 of the 122 seats in the house and had confidence and supply support from ACT, United Future and the Maori Party. The opposition Labour Party, led by Phil Goff, is the main challenger to the National Party.

On 17 September 2010, Justice Minister Simon Power announced the government was introducing legislation making this the first election where voters would be able to re-enrol completely on-line. Enrolments on-line beforehand still required the election form to be printed, signed, and sent by post.[3]



Election date

The election date will be on Saturday 26 November 2011, as predicted by the media.[4] Breaking with tradition, Prime Minister John Key announced the election date in February. Traditionally, the election date is a closely guarded secret, announced as late as possible. The date follows the tradition of holding the general election on the last Saturday of November unless the schedule is interrupted by a snap election or to circumvent holding a by-election.

The Governor General must issue writs for an election within seven days of the expiration or dissolution of the current Parliament.[5] Under section 17 of the Constitution Act 1986, Parliament expires three years "from the day fixed for the return of the writs issued for the last preceding general election of members of the House of Representatives, and no longer." The writs for the previous election were returnable on 27 November 2008.[6] As a result, the 49th Parliament will expire, if not dissolved earlier, on 27 November 2011. As that day is a Sunday, the last available working day is 25 November 2011. Consequently, the last day for issuance of writs of election is 2 December 2011. The writs must be returned within 50 days of their issuance with the last possible working day being 20 January 2012.[7] Because polling day must be a Saturday,[7] the last possible polling date for the election was 7 January 2012, allowing time for the counting of special votes.[8] The Christmas/New Year holiday period made the last realistic date for the election Saturday 10 December 2011. The Rugby World Cup 2011 was hosted by New Zealand between 9 September and 23 October 2011, and ruled out all the possible election dates in this period. This left two possible windows for the general election: on or before 2 September and 29 October to 10 December.

2 February 2011 Prime Minister John Key announces election to be held on 26 November
6 October 2011 Last sitting day for the 49th Parliament
20 October 2011 Dissolution of the 49th Parliament
26 October 2011 Writ Day - Governor General issues formal direction to the Electoral Commission to hold the election.
Electoral roll closes for printing (all people enrolling after this date must cast special declaration votes).
2 November 2011 Details of candidates for election and polling places released.
9 November 2011 Advance and overseas voting begins.
25 November 2011 Advance voting ends. Overseas voting ends 4:00pm local time.
26 November 2011 Election Day - polling places open 9:00am to 7:00pm. Preliminary results released progressively after 7:00pm.
10 December 2011 Official results released
15 December 2011 Writ for election returned; official declaration of elected members

Source: [9]

The 49th Parliament

Following the 2008 general election, National Party leader and Prime Minister John Key announced a confidence and supply agreement with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future to form the Fifth National Government. These arrangements gave the National-led government a majority of 16 seats, with 69 on confidence-and-supply in the 122-seat Parliament.

Labour, Greens and the Progressives are all in opposition, although only the Labour and Progressive parties formally constitute the formal Opposition; the Greens have a minor agreement with the government but are not committed to confidence and supply support.

At the 2008 election, the National Party had 58 seats, the Labour Party 43 seats, Green Party 9 seats, ACT and Maori Party five each, and Progressive and United Future one each. During the Parliament session, two members defected from their parties - Chris Carter was expelled from Labour in August 2010, and Hone Harawira left the Maori Party in February 2011. Carter continued as an independent, while Harawira resigned from parliament to recontest his Te Tai Tokerau electorate in a by-election under his newly formed Mana Party. Two MPs resigned from Parliament before the end of the session, John Carter of National and Chris Carter, but as they resigned within 6 months of an election, their seats remained vacant.

At the dissolution of the 49th parliament on 20 October 2011, National held 57 seats, Labour 42 seats, Green 9 seats, ACT 5 seats, Maori 4 seats, and Progressive, United Future and Mana one each.

Marginal seats

At the 2008 election, the following seats were won by a majority of less than 1000 votes:

Electorate Member of Parliament Incumbent party Majority Second place Second Party
New Plymouth Young, JonathanJonathan Young National &10000000000000105000000105 Duynhoven, HarryHarry Duynhoven Labour
Waimakariri Cosgrove, ClaytonClayton Cosgrove Labour &10000000000000390000000390 Wilkinson, KateKate Wilkinson National
Waitakere Bennett, PaulaPaula Bennett National &10000000000000632000000632 Pillay, LynneLynne Pillay Labour
Rimutaka Hipkins, ChrisChris Hipkins Labour &10000000000000753000000753 Whiteside, RichardRichard Whiteside National
Hauraki-Waikato Mahuta, NanaiaNanaia Mahuta Labour &10000000000000888000000888 Greensill, AngelineAngeline Greensill Māori
Christchurch Central Burns, BrendonBrendon Burns Labour &10000000000000935000000935 Wagner, NickyNicky Wagner National
West Coast-Tasman Auchinvole, ChrisChris Auchinvole National 971 O'Connor, DamienDamien O'Connor Labour

Just outside the 1000-vote majority in 2008 was the electorate Ōhariu, where United Future leader Peter Dunne won by a majority of 1006 over Labour MP Charles Chauvel. Unless United Future wins another electorate seat or passes the 5% party vote threshold, a loss of this seat by Peter Dunne could take the party out of Parliament.

MPs retiring at 2011 election

All 5 ACT MPs plus the sole Progressive MP will be retiring at this election. John Boscawen will be contesting Tāmaki for ACT, but does not expect to win and will not be on the party list.

Party Name Electorate
ACT Roger Douglas (List) [10]
Rodney Hide Epsom [11][12]
Heather Roy (List) [13]
Hilary Calvert (List) [14]
John Boscawen (List) [15]
Green Sue Kedgley (List) [16][17]
Keith Locke (List) [18]
Progressive Jim Anderton Wigram [19]
Labour Ashraf Choudhary (List) [20]
George Hawkins Manurewa [21]
Pete Hodgson Dunedin North [22]
Lynne Pillay (List) [23]
Mita Ririnui (List) [24]
National John Carter Northland [25]
Sandra Goudie Coromandel [26]
Wayne Mapp North Shore [27]
Simon Power Rangitīkei [28]
Allan Peachey Tāmaki [29]
Georgina te Heuheu (List) [30]

Electorate boundaries

Electorates in the election will be the same as at the 2008 election.

Electorates and their boundaries in New Zealand are reviewed every five years after the Census of Population and Dwellings. The last review took place in 2007, following the 2006 census. The next review is not due until 2014, following the 2013 census (the 2011 census was cancelled due to the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake).

Contesting parties and candidates

At the close of nominations, 544 individuals had been nominated to contest the election, down from 682 at the 2008 election. Of those, 91 are list-only, 73 are electorate-only (43 from registered parties, 17 independents, and 13 from non-registered parties), and 380 are contesting both list and electorate.[31]

Political parties registered with the Electoral Commission on Writ Day can contest the general election as a party, allowing it to submit a party list to contend the party vote, and have a party election expenses limit in addition to individual candidate limits. At Writ Day, sixteen political parties were registered to contend the general election.[32] At the close of nominations, thirteen registered parties had put forward a party list to the Commission to contest the party vote, down from nineteen in 2008.[33][31]

Party Leader(s) Party vote %
(2008 election)
(October 2011)
Party list
Parties with seats in the 49th Parliament
ACT Don Brash 3.65 5 50 55
Green Russel Norman / Metiria Turei 6.72 9 59 61
Labour Phil Goff 33.99 42 70 65
Mana Hone Harawira [a] 1 21 20
Māori Pita Sharples / Tariana Turia 2.39 4 11 17
National John Key 44.93 57 63 65
United Future Peter Dunne 0.87 1 19 15
Other parties
Alliance Andrew McKenzie / Kay Murray 0.08 5 14
Conservative Colin Craig [a] 52 30
Democrats Stephnie de Ruyter 0.05 14 24
Legalise Cannabis Michael Appleby 0.41 18 28
Libertarianz Richard McGrath 0.05 9 27
NZ First Winston Peters 4.07 31 33
^[a] Party was founded after the 2008 election

The Kiwi Party, the New Citizen Party and the Progressive Party are registered, but are not contending the election under their own banners. The Kiwi Party and the New Citizen Party are standing candidates for the Conservative Party.[34]

In addition to the registered parties and their candidates, thirteen candidates from nine non-registered parties and seventeen independent candidates are contesting electorates:

Party Electorates contesting
Human Rights Auckland Central
Communist League Manukau East, Mount Roskill
Nga Iwi Morehu Hauraki-Waikato, Te Tai Hauauru
Pirate Hamilton East, Wellington Central
Sovereignty Party Clutha-Southland, Te Tai Hauauru
Economic Euthenics Wigram
New Economics Wellington Central
Restore All Things In Christ Dunedin South
Youth West Coast-Tasman
Independent Christchurch Central
Epsom ×2
Hamilton West ×2
New Plymouth
Rangitikei ×2
Tamaki ×2
Wellington Central


Epsom and the Tea Tape scandal

On 11 November, Prime Minister John Key met with John Banks, the ACT candidate for Epsom, at a cafe in Newmarket to discuss the relationship between the National and ACT parties over a cup of tea.[35] Part of this meetup stems from problems concerning a breakdown in the Epsom tactical vote. The National Party passively campaigns for Epsom voters to give their electorate vote to ACT while giving their party vote to National. This will allow ACT to bypass the 5% party vote threshold and enter Parliament on the back of winning an electorate seat, thereby providing a safe coalition partner for National to work with. However, in October and November 2011, polls of the Epsom electorate vote taken by various companies have shown that the National candidate for Epsom, Paul Goldsmith[36], is leading in the polls and is likely to win the seat.

During the meeting, a recording was made of the two politicians' discussion by a recording device left on the table in a black pouch. The recording tapes were leaked to the Herald on Sunday newspaper, and subsequently created a media frenzy over the content of the unreleased tapes.[37]


TVNZ has announced that it will hold three leaders debates: two between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and one between the leaders of the smaller parties.[38] TV3 will also host a single debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.[39]

Date Host Leaders Presenter / Moderator
30 October TVNZ Don Brash, Metiria Turei, Hone Hawariwa, Pita Sharples, Peter Dunne Paul Holmes
Highlights – The debate included a variety of topics, ranging from the age of superannuation eligibility to youth unemployment to asset sales. Peter Dunne won the debate, with Metiria Turei coming second.[40]
31 October TVNZ John Key, Phil Goff Mark Sainsbury / Guyon Espiner
Highlights – the economy, asset sales, the cost of living, education, welfare, evironment and mining, crisis management and recovery, leadership and New Zealand's involvement in Afghanistan. A text poll conducted alongside gave the debate to John Key with 61%.[41]
16 November TVNZ Don Brash, Russel Norman, Hone Harawira, Pita Sharples, Winston Peters, Peter Dunne Mark Sainsbury / Guyon Espiner
Highlights – The debate included the economy, the age of superannuation eligibility, Maori affairs, the environment, the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Teapot Tape scandal, the voting system referendum, and potential partners after the election. A text poll conducted alongside gave the debate to Winston Peters with 36%, with Hone Harawira coming second with 27%.[41][42]
21 November TV3 John Key, Phil Goff John Campbell
Highlights – TBC
23 November TVNZ John Key, Phil Goff Mark Sainsbury / Guyon Espiner


Graphical representation of poll results

The nature of the Mixed Member Proportional voting system, in which the share of seats in Parliament a party gets is determined by its share of the party vote, means opinion polling in New Zealand is fairly accurate in predicting the outcome of an election compared with other countries.

Opinion polls have been undertaken periodically since the 2008 election by MediaWorks New Zealand (3 News Reid Research), The New Zealand Herald (Herald Digipoll), Roy Morgan Research, and Television New Zealand (One News Colmar Brunton), with polls having also being conducted by Fairfax Media (Fairfax Media Research International) since July 2011. The graph on the right shows the collated results of all five polls for parties that have polled above the 5% electoral threshold.

After the 2008 election, National gained in popularity, and since 2009 has regularly polled in the 50-55% range, peaking at 55% in August 2009. Labour and Green meanwhile kept steady after the election at 31-34% and 7-8% respectively until July 2011, when Labour started to lose support, reaching 29% in October 2011. The majority of Labour's loss has been the Green's gain, rising to 10% in the same period. No other party has peaked on average above 4% since the 2008 election.


The Electoral Commission will gradually release preliminary results from the election as they become available after polling places close at 7:00pm on election day. The Commission hopes to have all advance votes counted and results available by 8:30pm, half of the polling places counted by 10:00pm, and all of the polling places counted by 11:30pm.[9]

Parliamentary parties

e • d  Summary of the 26 November 2011 New Zealand House of Representatives election results (preliminary)
party votes % of votes seats
% change electorate list total change
United Future
other parties
total 100.00 70 50a 120a
party informal votes
disallowed special votes
disallowed ordinary votes
total votes cast 56,530b
turnout 1.86%b
total electorate 3,035,135[43]

a Plus any overhang seats.
b Based on advance votes cast as of 17 November 2011.[44]

Non-parliamentary parties

e • d  Summary of party vote for minor
unrepresented registered parties.
Party Votes % Change
Legalise Cannabis
NZ First
Minor parties, total

Electorate results

Electorate Incumbent Winner Runner up
Auckland Central Nikki Kaye (Nat)
Bay of Plenty Tony Ryall (Nat)
Botany Jami-Lee Ross (Nat)
Christchurch Central Brendon Burns (Lab)
Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel (Lab)
Clutha-Southland Bill English (Nat)
Coromandel Sandra Goudie (Nat)
Dunedin North Pete Hodgson (Lab)
Dunedin South Clare Curran (Lab)
East Coast Anne Tolley (Nat)
East Coast Bays Murray McCully (Nat)
Epsom Rodney Hide (ACT)
Hamilton East David Bennett (Nat)
Hamilton West Tim Macindoe (Nat)
Helensville John Key (Nat)
Hunua Paul Hutchison (Nat)
Hutt South Trevor Mallard (Lab)
Ilam Gerry Brownlee (Nat)
Invercargill Eric Roy (Nat)
Kaikoura Colin King (Nat)
Mana Kris Faafoi (Lab)
Mangere Su'a William Sio (Lab)
Manukau East Ross Robertson (Lab)
Manurewa George Hawkins (Lab)
Maungakiekie Sam Lotu-Iiga (Nat)
Mount Albert David Shearer (Lab)
Mount Roskill Phil Goff (Lab)
Napier Chris Tremain (Nat)
Nelson Nick Smith (Nat)
New Lynn David Cunliffe (Lab)
New Plymouth Jonathan Young (Nat)
North Shore Wayne Mapp (Nat)
Northcote Jonathan Coleman (Nat)
Northland John Carter (Nat)
Ōhariu Peter Dunne (UF)
Ōtaki Nathan Guy (Nat)
Pakuranga Maurice Williamson (Nat)
Palmerston North Iain Lees-Galloway (Lab)
Papakura Judith Collins (Nat)
Port Hills Ruth Dyson (Lab)
Rangitata Jo Goodhew (Nat)
Rangitīkei Simon Power (Nat)
Rimutaka Chris Hipkins (Lab)
Rodney Lockwood Smith (Nat)
Rongotai Annette King (Lab)
Rotorua Todd McClay (Nat)
Selwyn Amy Adams (Nat)
Tamaki Allan Peachey (Nat)
Taranaki-King Country Shane Ardern (Nat)
Taupō Louise Upston (Nat)
Tauranga Simon Bridges (Nat)
Te Atatu Chris Carter (Ind)
Tukituki Craig Foss (Nat)
Waikato Lindsay Tisch (Nat)
Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove (Lab)
Wairarapa John Hayes (Nat)
Waitakere Paula Bennett (Nat)
Waitaki Jacqui Dean (Nat)
Wellington Central Grant Robertson (Lab)
West Coast-Tasman Chris Auchinvole (Nat)
Whanganui Chester Borrows (Nat)
Whangarei Phil Heatley (Nat)
Wigram Jim Anderton (Prog)
Māori Electorates
Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta (Lab)
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Parekura Horomia (Lab)
Tāmaki Makaurau Pita Sharples (Māori)
Te Tai Hauāuru Tariana Turia (Māori)
Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira (Mana)
Te Tai Tonga Rahui Katene (Māori)
Waiariki Te Ururoa Flavell (Māori)

Coalition agreements


The National Party has ruled out working with New Zealand First's Winston Peters after the election.[45] ACT has confirmed it will work with National after the elections.

The Labour Party leader Phil Goff has ruled out a coalition agreement with Hone Harawira's new Mana Party, but has left open the possibility of reaching an agreement with New Zealand First.[46]

In the 16 November minor parties debate, leaders from the minor parties stated their preferences:[41]

  • Green would work in a coalition government with Labour, but wouldn't completely rule out working with National.
  • Mana would not work in a coalition government with National and/or ACT
  • Maori would not work in a coalition government with ACT.
  • New Zealand First has not stated a preference
  • United Future ruled out working with Labour


  1. ^ a b "Key confirms election date". The New Zealand Herald. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "MMP referendum to be held with 2011 election". The New Zealand Herald. 
  3. ^ "Government to allow voters to enrol via Internet". New Zealand Government. 17 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Armstrong, John; Young, Audrey (3 January 2011). "Challenges ahead but first, a break". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Electoral Act 1993, Sec. 125
  6. ^ 2008 General Election Timetable
  7. ^ a b Electoral Act 1993, Sec. 139
  8. ^ "New Zealand's system of government - an overview". The New Zealand Electoral Commission. 
  9. ^ a b "2011 GENERAL ELECTION AND REFERENDUM TIMETABLE". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Sir Roger Douglas to quit parliament". Radio New Zealand. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hide won't contest general election". New Zealand Herald. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 03 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Hide refuses to give traditional farewell". New Zealand Herald. 01 August 2011. Retrieved 03 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Vance, Andrea (25 June 2011). "Roy to quit - on her own terms". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Edwards, Bryce (29 August 2011). "Hilary Calvert, ideal politician". National Business Review. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Kedgley sprints to the 2011 finish line". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Kedgley confirms resignation". 17 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  18. ^ "Locke to retire at election". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Sachdeva, Sam (12 October 2010). "Anderton will retire from House in 2011". The Press. Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Labour's list 'not trusted' by MP". Manawatu Standard. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  21. ^ Trevett, Claire (9 December 2010). "Labour in turmoil over MP's threat to resign". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Makenzie, Dene (5 June 2010). "Hodgson exits politics on 'own terms'". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "Lynne Pillay confirms she will stand down in 2011". Scoop Media. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  24. ^ "Mita Ririnui: Time for new challenges". New Zealand Labour Party. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "McCully names new High Commissioner to the Cook Islands". New Zealand Government. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  26. ^ "Coromandel MP Sandra Goudie to retire". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  27. ^ Liz Willis (15 December 2010). "National MP Wayne Mapp to retire". 
  28. ^ Martin Kay (2 March 2011). "Justice Minister Simon Power to retire". Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  29. ^ John Hartevelt (5 October 2011). "Nationals Allan Peachey steps down". Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  30. ^ "Georgina te Heuheu to retire from politics". The New Zealand Herald. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  31. ^ a b "Candidates locked in for election". The New Zealand Herald. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  32. ^ "Registered political parties - overview & register". Electoral Commission. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  33. ^ "Party lists for the 2011 General Election". Electoral Commission. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  34. ^ Danya Levy (2011-10-18). "New Citizens Party joins with Conservatives". Stuff. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  35. ^ McMahon, Lyle (11 November 2011). "PM and Banks have their Epsom cup of tea". Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  36. ^ "Paul Goldsmith - Candidate profile". New Zealand National Party. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  37. ^ Wilson, Peter (16 November 2011). "Key may face more teapot tape accusations". 3 News (New Zealand). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  38. ^ "TV ONE election debates announced". Television New Zealand. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  39. ^ Drinnan, John (26 August 2011). "Worm returns for leaders' debate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  40. ^ Cheng, Derek (30 October 2011). "Dunne wins debate by a hair". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  41. ^ a b c "Goff and Key clash in fiery opening debate". Television New Zealand. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  42. ^ Vance, Andrea (17 November 2011). "Winston Peters winner in minor party debate". Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  43. ^ "Enrolment statistics for the whole of New Zealand". Electoral Commission. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  44. ^ "More than 56,000 advance votes cast". 3 News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  45. ^ "PM rules out any NZ First deal". The New Zealand Herald. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  46. ^ "Goff rules out deal with Hone Harawira". 14 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 

External links

Election broadcast

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