Voting in N.Z. General Election opens in Samoa

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VOTING IS OFFICIALLY OPEN: New Zealand High Commissioner in Samoa, His Excellency David Nicholson, casts the first vote from Samoa for the New Zealand General Election 2017.

VOTING IS OFFICIALLY OPEN: New Zealand High Commissioner in Samoa, His Excellency David Nicholson, casts the first vote from Samoa for the New Zealand General Election 2017.

New Zealand High Commissioner in Samoa, David Nicholson, cast the first vote for the upcoming New Zealand General Election from the High Commission office in Apia yesterday morning, officially opening in-person overseas voting in Samoa. 

“Voting in the New Zealand General Election is one way that New Zealanders can have their say about the issues that affect their community and what the future government will focus on,” said Mr. Nicholson.  

“We have a responsibility — as New Zealand’s representatives in Samoa — to ensure those who wish to and are eligible to vote in the New Zealand General Election are able to do so.

“Having a voice and the opportunity to participate in the process of deciding who our members of parliament will be is an important foundation of our democratic society,” he added.

 “Since its first election in 1853, New Zealand has always been world-leading in voting rights. All Māori men were able to vote from 1867 and all European men from 1879, regardless of their wealth or status as landowners. 

And in 1893, we became the first country in the world where women were able to vote in national elections,” His Excellency said.

“Making sure every New Zealander who is eligible and wants to vote, can — wherever they are in the world — is another example of our long history and commitment to creating fair and equitable elections.”

Mr Nicholson continued, “New Zealand’s Mixed Member Proportional (M.M.P.) voting system means each voter actually gets two votes — one for the political party they want to see in Parliament, and one for the candidate they want to represent their electorate. 

“When allocating the 120 seats in Parliament, 71 Members of Parliament are elected directly to electorate seats — 64 general and 7 Māori electorates — with the remaining number of seats filled by list MPs, based on each party’s share of the party vote.  

“Basically, the proportion of votes a party gets, along with any electorate seats that it wins, will be reflected in the number of seats it gets of the total number of seats in Parliament.”

A special voting station, for in-person overseas votes, will be open during regular business hours, 8.30am to 4.30pm every weekday, at the New Zealand High Commission in Apia, up until 4pm on Friday 22 September 2017. 

Eligible voters can also request postal voting papers or download voting papers online; both of which can be returned to the High Commission office, as well.

To check your eligibility, enrolment information, and to find our which electorate you should be casting a vote for, visit: http://www.elections.org.nz/events/2017-general-election/voting-2017-general-election/voting-overseas

If you’re enrolled on the New Zealand Electoral Roll, and you’re a New Zealand citizen who has been in New Zealand within the past three years, or you’re a permanent resident of New Zealand who has been in New Zealand within the past 12 months, you are eligible to cast an overseas vote. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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