Election Date

March 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

There has been some speculation recently that the Government could call an election before the Rugby World Cup in 2011. John Key has sad this is most unlikely. But the RWC does pose some challenges to the normal electoral cycle.

First of all the Rugby World Cup runs from 10 September 2011 to 22 October 2011. It is generally accepted you don’t want a campaign during that time, because to be blunt no one will want to hear from politicians.

In an ideal situation, you would have Parliament sit for say two weeks after the RWC, and then dissolve Parliament on say Thursday 3 November. The latest date Parliament can dissolve is Tuesday 22 November.

If you dissolve on Thursday 3 November, and have the GG issue writs the next day, and allow a week for nominations to close, then the election would be Saturday 3 December 2011.

However this may pose a challenge in itself. The writs for the election generally get returned two to three weeks after the election, to allow time for special votes and recounts. The writs may not be able to be returned until Mon 19 December, which gives stuff all time to have the House meet before Christmas.

Hence having a full six week gap between the end of the RWC and the election may not be possible. So a more likely scenario is that the House sits for only one week after the Rugby World Cup, and you have the election on Saturday 26 November 2011.

This will mean that the post RWC parliamentary session will effectively be little more than an adjournment debate, and that the RWC might almost become a phony election campaign, as people will know it is all on the moment it ends.

If 26 November is picked, here are my guesses for the key dates:

  1. RWC Final Sat 22 Oct
  2. Parliament adjournment debate Wed 26 Oct
  3. Dissolution of Parliament Thu 27 Oct
  4. Writ Day Fri 28 Oct
  5. Nominations Day Thu 3 Nov
  6. Election Day Sat 26 Nov
  7. Official Results Tue 6 Dec
  8. Deadline for Recounts Fri 9 Dec
  9. Return of Writs Tue 13 Dec
  10. MPs sworn in, elects Speaker Tue 20 Dec
  11. Parliament resumes, elects Deputy Speakers Wed 21 Dec
  12. Parliament adjourns Thu 22 Dec

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of wriggle room for the PM. He can’t go much earlier because of the RWC and can’t go much later due to the need for the House to meet before Christmas.

It would be possible of course to have Parliament meet in January, but you’d have some very grumpy MPs and press gallery journalists.

The latest you can dissolve Parliament is 22 November 2011. This means the election writs must be issued by 29 November 2011, and must be returned by 18 January 2012. Parliament must resume 42 days after that, which is Wed 29 February 2012. So in theory you could delay it until after Christmas, but it would mean a general election in the first week of January or last week of December, and that won’t be happening.

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22 Responses to “Election Date”

  1. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    So you’d want to go before the world cup and ride on a feel good pre cup sentiment….

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  2. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    Ha they should change standing orders so that Parliament is only out on public holidays and sits the rest of the time through Christmas and New Years. It would cut down half the mad holiday rush as most of the civil servants would have to stay working. They could stagger the civil servants holidays through the year like a normal business and probably have more time to write more effective laws.
    Also MP’s would realize what the real world is like in stead of having a leisurely 6 week summer break every year…….
    Cough cough can’t see it happening though

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  3. campit (467 comments) says:

    All this assumes that people give a toss about the rugby of course…

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  4. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    Hmmmm thats a point – be interesting what effect the fate of the All Blacks will have on the election…….must Phil Goffs secret wish that they lose in 1/4 finals so that people will vote against John Key because they are pissed off…………can’t see anything else helping him

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  5. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Here I was thinking that Sport and Poiltics shouldnt mix

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  6. thedavincimode (6,867 comments) says:

    So when will Mr Tegel have to hatch all those extra little chickies so KFC can load up in time for Mr Williams’ election day order?

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  7. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    I think November campaign for late November election, straight after the RWC, would be good. It would suit me to have the RWC distraction so we don’t get too long a campaign.

    I don’t think whether we win the RWC or not matters (it shouldn’t anyway).

    I think January/Februrary is a bad time to have it, too many people out of electorate and out of country, the vote would be way down.

    3-4 weeks is long enough to campaign – most people should have a good idea already who they will vote for. Most standard campaigning makes no difference to me – advertising, hoardings are all just unnecessary noise. Maybe other voters are influenced by the noise rather than the substance.

    I’d rather go to debates/meetings and see what candidates are really like. The “presidential” style campaigns are nonsense to me, we should have a good idea what we think of the leaders at least before the campaign.

    The problem is the TV media love the presidential thing because it makes an event they think is good viewing, they can focus on dramatic dross rather than having to try and help us analyse substance. They like to think they are an essential and influential part of it all.

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  8. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    The next general election needs to be before the WWE trophy tournament, certainly before NZ falls in the quarter-final or earlier or the general malaise that invariably settles over NZ after that inevitable result could throw up a very bad result for NZ.

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  9. Chicken Little (741 comments) says:

    November is good.

    People will have had 5 months to digest the financial ramifications both personal and business wise of Nationals ETS.

    I’m assuming their strategists have convinced the party heads that there is no one else to vote for so they will get away with this blatant tax grab.

    I’m hoping the People will have something else to say about it come election time. I plan to be out protesting loudly and and with a true lefties eye towards the media. YES thats right, the NZ National party has turned me into a leftie over this issue.

    National can kiss my arse.

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  10. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Our minimum voting age is 18, so I would have hoped that voters would be grown up enough to not let a bit of sport interfere with casting a sensible vote. Is everyone really that immature they can’t think about two things concurrently?

    The media are against having two limelight opportunities (their own of course) clashing.

    Politicians may be jealous of the passion and feeling that sports can generate, and wish they could get a bit of that flowing into their campaign.

    Does any research show that major sports events can influence one party of another, left/right, incumbent/opposition, main/small etc? Or is it just more baseless speculation that seems to take precedence over research and analysis?

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  11. holdenrepublic (34 comments) says:

    The other potential problem DPF is the GG’s term ending around 23 August 2011, right in the middle of the RWC. Perhaps they’ll extend his term until Feb?

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  12. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    Pete George (4386) Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Our minimum voting age is 18, so I would have hoped that voters would be grown up enough to not let a bit of sport interfere with casting a sensible vote. Is everyone really that immature they can’t think about two things concurrently?

    Pete, this is a country that relies on television not just for it’s “news” but to form it’s opinions for it.

    Having been told by the slime for years leading up to the event that NZ are the best team in the world, will win easily and that NZers MUST back the team because of this “fact” the inevitable failure will have serious consequences.

    The current left wing government need, at any opportunity, distance themselves from rugby in any form or simply use their brains and call the election before this can happen.

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  13. dime (10,094 comments) says:

    “It would be possible of course to have Parliament meet in January, but you’d have some very grumpy MPs and press gallery journalists.”

    ummmmm so?? wouldn’t be a bad move by Key. show us they are making a sacrifice.

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  14. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    MT-T: I don’t rely on television for news or for forming my opinion. Maybe others do.

    It’s a fact that usually the All Blacks are ranked as one of the best teams in the world.

    I don’t hear any informed opinion that they will win the RWC easily. In knock out style competitions it only takes one lapse, and/or bad lack or not getting the rub of the green to get knocked out.

    Failure isn’t inevitable. The All Blacks have at least as good a chance as several top teams to not fail.

    If they do “fail” – that is, if the aren’t the eventual winner – their may be serious consequences for a coach or two, and a few gamblers, but otherwise it’s just a sports result.

    John Key has been refreshing as a politician in a number of ways. I hope he doesn’t get dragged into the RWC/election crap and just backs his record and schedules the election at a suitable time for the election.

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  15. s.russell (1,646 comments) says:

    I doubt that the RWC will effect the election result. There will be 4-6 weeks for people to shift their focus from one to the other, and blaming the Govt for a rugby loss (or crediting them for a win) seems too illogical even for Kiwis.

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  16. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    …unless Graham Henry runs for parliament! Then I could understand the votes being linked to the results.

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  17. Inventory2 (10,405 comments) says:

    Don’t forget that Helen Clark swept to power in 1999 on a tide of anti-John Hart sentiment ….

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  18. tvb (4,492 comments) says:

    Only in NZ would this wretched tournament be fiddling around a general election. The thing is simply a commercial money making venture for the International Body.

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  19. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    Looks like the only practical conclusion that can be draw is New Zealand will have to have over hosting duties for the RWC in 2011 to Australia.

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  20. thedavincimode (6,867 comments) says:

    I2

    Lets not forget the promise to clean up politics …

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  21. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    13 Phil Goff resigns Leadership Wed 7 Dec
    14 Little Andrew humbly accepts leadership and thanks Phil for his effort over the past 3 years Thurs 8 Dec
    15 Little tells Trevor Mallard hi type of politics has no part in the new party and suggests he review his future. Fri 9 Dec

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  22. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    So why does the election date have to revolve around the dictates of the NZRU? Have the bloody thing whenever it suits parliament.
    Also, even if it is decided to work around the RWC, why does the house even have to have its final sitting after the cup is finished? Why not have it during the competition to allow an election in mid November?

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