New Zealanders are heading to the polls as we speak in a common election that might see the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, strengthen her left-of-centre maintain on authorities or socially sonservative Judith Collins put in after solely three months as opposition chief.

Labour celebration chief Ardern and Nationwide celebration chief Collins are the faces of the election to kind the nation’s 53rd parliament, in essence a pandemic-focused referendum on Ardern’s three-year time period.

Doorways to the polling cubicles opened at 9am, although a report variety of voters – greater than 1.7 million – solid their ballots prematurely, accounting for nearly half of the roughly 3.5 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.

Restrictions are in place on what information media can report in regards to the race till polls shut at 7pm, and politicians have needed to stop all campaigning, together with taking down posters, and pulling ads from TV and radio. The rule is designed to restrict undue affect on the essential day and permit voters to solid their poll in peace.

National leader Judith Collins met campaign volunteers on the as last day before the election.
Nationwide chief Judith Collins met marketing campaign volunteers on the final day earlier than New Zealand’s election. {Photograph}: Dave Rowland/Getty Photographs

In a shock transfer the Electoral fee gently reprimanded a British MP by way of Twitter on Saturday morning, reminding Angela Eagle of Wallasey that it was towards New Zealand to legislation to publish something to social media selling events or candidates on voting day. Eagle’s tweet was later deleted.

No exit polls are allowed to be carried out or launched both. Ardern spent the day delivering cheese scones to volunteers, whereas Collins stored a low profile. Voters historically embrace the silence by posting photos of their canine on the polling stations.

At 7pm the Electoral Fee will start publishing preliminary outcomes, with the purpose of counting 50% of the vote by 10pm, and 100% by 11.30pm. It’s thought the outcomes may come out shortly this yr, as a result of so many advance votes have been solid.

Particular votes, together with ballots from New Zealanders abroad and those that vote exterior their house constituencies, won’t be launched till 6 November.

New Zealanders are additionally voting on referendums to legalise euthanasia and leisure marijuana. The latter vote may make New Zealand solely the third nation on this planet to permit the grownup use and sale of hashish nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada.

The outcomes of the referendums shall be introduced on 30 October.

New Zealand switched to a mixed-member proportional electoral system in 1996 by which a celebration or coalition wants 61 of Parliament’s 120 seats – normally about 48% of the vote – to kind a authorities.

This implies minor events typically play an influential position in figuring out which main celebration governs.

The 2020 election is without doubt one of the strangest New Zealand has seen, and has been described as “bizarre”, “weird” and “odd” by seasoned political observers. The vote was delayed by a month after an outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland, and plenty of have described feeling drained by the lengthy campaigning interval, on prime of what has already been a attempting yr.