Qatar, Zambia, Barbados and Antarctica are among the more unusual spots New Zealanders are gearing up to vote from in this election.

Voters based outside New Zealand can cast votes at overseas posts, send votes to overseas posts, send them or fax them directly to the Electoral Commission or a returning officer.

The electorate they vote for is the one in which they last lived for at least a month.

In 2008, 32,461 people voted from overseas, and 69 overseas polling stations were set up.


As well as the more predictable spots such as Australia, The United States and Britain, polling places were in a variety of unlikely locations, including Belgium, Iran, Niue, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Vietnam.

A number of odd locations are likely to be represented in this year's election too, with voting forms already having been downloaded from Qatar, Antarctica, Barbados, Zambia, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, and from fishing vessels out at sea.

More than 150 overseas votes have been faxed to the Electoral Commission since advance voting opened yesterday (Wednesday), but the number of overseas votes will not be clear until after international polls close.

Hana Garrett-Walker, a Wellingtonian travelling in India, said while she wanted to vote, the issue had been put in the "too-hard" basket.

"Because I am travelling around and I'm not at any fixed address, nor do I know how to find somewhere with a printer I'm a bit stuck," she said.

"As far as I can tell there is no way to just do it online, which would be ideal."

Among those able to make alternative voting arrangements is Sarah Jones, a 26-year-old Dunedin student currently on an exchange to Copenhagen in Denmark.

Because Denmark was not listed as an overseas post, there was slightly more of a rigmarole to go through, Miss Jones said.


"After updating my registration online, and having to scan and email signatures to, I am waiting on confirmation so I can download my voting forms and fax/post them in."

Having been away for the campaign period, Miss Jones said her vote would be reliant on information gathered before she left New Zealand in July, and on policy releases she had skimmed through online.

"I feel that if you don't vote you give up your right to have an opinion on how the country should be run."