Q: What is the electorate vote?

It is the vote to choose the local member of Parliament for the electorate you live in.

Q: What is the party vote?

The party vote is added up across the country and decides how many MPs each party gets and which can form a Government.


Q: Should I vote the same for both?

That is up to you. Some people split their votes because the person they want as their local MP might not be from the party they want in charge of the country.

Q: Can any party get into Parliament?

To get MPs into Parliament a party must either get at least 5 per cent of the party vote or one of its candidates must win an electorate seat.

If a party gets 10 per cent of the party vote, it will have 10 per cent of the total MPs in Parliament -- about 12 MPs.

Q: What is a party list?

Each party ranks its candidates in a list and the list determines who goes into Parliament if the party vote is higher than the number of MPs who win electorates.

For example, if a party wins 10 per cent of the votes across the country, it is entitled to about 12 seats in a 120-seat Parliament.

If it wins only two electorate seats, the other eight MPs would come from the list.

If No 1 and 3 on the list had won the electorate seats, the first list MP from that party would be No 2 and next would be No 4.

Q: What happens if a party's candidates win more electorate seats than its party vote the country entitles them to?

The party keeps the electorate seats and the size of Parliament is extended.

It is called an overhang.

In the last Parliament, there were 121 MPs -- United Future leader Peter Dunne was the 'overhang' because he won the Ohariu seat but United Future's party vote was too low to give it a seat.

Q: What would happen if the party I voted for got 4 per cent of the vote and no electorate seat?

It would get no MPs and the party votes would not count in determining the make-up of Parliament.

Q: How is the Government chosen?

The party or parties together that can advise the Governor-General they can get more than 50 per cent support to pass future confidence and supply votes (eg passing a Budget) will become the Government.