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Referendums on the New Zealand flag

Referendums on the New Zealand flag

There will be two binding referendums on the future of the New Zealand flag. The first referendum will be conducted between 20 November and 11 December 2015, on the question “If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?” Voters will be asked to rank the five alternative flag designs selected through the flag consideration process.

In March 2016, there will be a second referendum to choose between the most preferred option from the first referendum and the current flag. The flag that receives the most votes in the second referendum will be the official flag of New Zealand.

These will be postal referendums and voting papers will be sent in the mail. Voters who will be overseas during the voting periods will not be able to download their voting paper or vote at an overseas post. Overseas voters who are not able to obtain their voting paper by post must contact the Electoral Commission: [email protected] or +64 4 495 0300. Voters are encouraged to make sure they are ready to take part in the referendum, and should check or update their details, or enrol to vote: www.elections.org.nz/voters/enrol-check-or-update-now

Information for the first referendum is provided below. Information for the second referendum will be sent in early 2016.

The first referendum on the New Zealand flag

All voters must be correctly enrolled by Thursday 19 November to be able to vote in the first referendum.

Voting papers are sent to voters from the start of the voting period, Friday 20 November and will be sent to the postal address each elector has registered on the electoral roll. If voters have registered an overseas postal address their voting paper will be automatically sent to that address, otherwise the voting paper will be sent to their New Zealand address.

Voters who have changed their address or know they will be at a different address can:

•Arrange for someone to forward their original voting paper to them at their overseas location.

•Request a replacement voting paper be sent to their overseas address. This can be done from 30 October. Requesting a replacement voting paper will cancel their original one already sent. The replacement must be used in order for the vote to count. Voters on the unpublished roll can request a replacement voting paper by calling 0800 36 76 56 (within NZ) or +64 9 909 4182 (from overseas).

Voters who are not able to receive their voting paper by post or are concerned that they will not be able to receive their voting paper in time to return it, are able to contact the Electoral Commission’s overseas voting team by email [email protected] or by phone +64 9 909 4182 (from overseas) and ask to be forwarded to the overseas voting team.

Voters can return their voting paper from overseas in one of the following ways:

•Upload their voting paper to the Electoral Commission (www.elections.org.nz/overseas)

•Fax their voting paper to the Electoral Commission (+64 4 494 2300) or

•Post their voting paper to the Electoral Commission (The Returning Officer, Private Bag 39801, Lower Hutt 5045, New Zealand)

Voting papers returned to the Electoral Commission by upload or fax must be received no later than 7pm, Friday 11 December (New Zealand time). Voting papers returned to the Electoral Commission by post must be postmarked no later than Thursday, 10 December and received at the Electoral Commission by noon, Tuesday 15 December.

Voters in remote locations overseas

Overseas posts who receive enquiries from voters located in remote locations overseas can contact the Electoral Commission’s overseas team by email [email protected] or by phone +64 4 494 0030 to discuss ways to deliver voting services to New Zealanders located in their region, or ask the voter to contact the Electoral Commission directly.

Enrolment information and eligibility to vote

To vote in the first referendum, voters must be enrolled no later than Friday 19 November (NZ time), the day before voting begins.

New Zealanders overseas are eligible to vote if they:

•are 18 years or older; and

•have lived in New Zealand for more than one year at some point in their life; and

•are a New Zealand citizen and have visited New Zealand within the last three years; or

•are a permanent resident of New Zealand and have visited New Zealand within the last 12 months.

There are exceptions to these time limits for certain people and their families, such as members of the New Zealand Defence Force or New Zealand diplomats or trade representatives.

Voters can check and update their enrolment details or register an overseas postal address on the Electoral Commission website at www.elections.org.nz/enrol. If voters add an overseas postal address, voters must remember to check that this is correct for the second referendum in March 2016.

Voters who have a verified RealMe account can update their details fully online. Voters who do not have verified RealMe accounts can print and sign the updated enrolment form and return it by uploading it to the website. If voters have further questions about their enrolment eligibility or the enrolment process they can contact [email protected]

The Electoral Commission can provide enrolment packs if required. Please email the Electoral Commission’s overseas team [email protected] or by phone +64 4 494 0030 by 30 October to confirm the number of enrolment packs required and the address to send them to.

Enquiries

Public enquiries received by posts should be referred to the Electoral Commission’s 24 hour enquiry service on +64 9 909 4182 or to the Electoral Commission’s website: www.elections.org.nz

A notice will soon be placed on the NZEmbassy website. It will be published by CDM as a global news item and will appear on the front page of each post's section of the NZEmbassy website.

For further information on the referendum, overseas posts can contact Natasha Warren, Electoral Commission, by telephone +64 4 495 0030 or email [email protected] or Consular Division [email protected]


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