- Today: Business committee meets this afternoon to agree a parliament timetable
- September 6: Parliament dissolves
- September 13: Writ Day, nominations close 18 September
- October 3: Advance voting begins, last day for return of the writ is 12 November
- October 17: Election day
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has decided to delay this year's election until October 17.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said delaying the election was "inevitable" to allow members of the public to properly consider their votes.
"Because so many people are concerned about the health implications of the current restrictions, campaigning is extremely difficult.
"It's also important that the Government finds out how this got over the border ... we can't afford to keep yo-yoing in and out of lockdown every few months."
Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey supported the Prime Minister's move saying: "We're all in this together."
"I will be ready to return to Parliament, if the Prime Minister requires, to further advocate for the recovery of our local economy and the wellbeing of our whānau from the effects of this pandemic, as we work towards a safe, accessible, credible and fair election."
Rotorua-based New Zealand First list MP Fletcher Tabuteau said "moving the election date out is a move in the right direction".
"People need more time to engage not only with the referendum, but also with the different political parties so as to make an informed decisions on who to give their two ticks."
Rotorua Act candidate Pete Kirkwood said "delaying the election was the only decision the Prime Minister could make to ensure a free and fair contest".
"Act is committed to ensuring New Zealand takes competent, effective steps to combating this crisis and holding the current government accountable to ensure a free and fair New Zealand for all."
Tremains Rotorua sales manager Megan Davies said she believed delaying the election date was "definitely the right decision".
"It means that we don't lose the momentum already tracking by pushing it too far off, yet we have the time to plan for any further eventualities."
Davies said the market was "steady" despite the current Covid developments and she did not think the change of election date will have much impact.
"It gives more people a little more time to consider their options under the current conditions."
First National principal and Rotorua Real Estate Institute of New Zealand spokeswoman Ann Crossley said generally a month before an election people for whatever reason decided to stop making decisions on buying or selling and to wait until after the election results.
But she said delaying the 2020 election would not have much of an impact on the property market.
"This year I think the other impacts are overriding it and it's a bit more about Covid-19."
The Rotorua Daily Post is seeking further comment from other candidates and community leaders.
Victoria University's Institute for Governance and Policy Studies senior associate Dr Bryce Edwards described delaying the election by four weeks as a "Goldilocks" solution, saying it was the option which came closest to pleasing everyone.
He predicted that, if the election was not postponed, New Zealand was heading for a record low voter turnout.
"I do think it's a good decision. There were too many questions about having an election on September 19 and there were so many arguments being made that were resonating with the public.
"The public had concerns about safety and elections are supposed to be about participation so I think I think giving it another month is a good decision. There will be questions about whether four weeks is long enough, other political parties were arguing for a later election.
"I think there will be an appreciation from the public that [Ardern] has done the right thing and there will be a much better chance for the country to be out of the situation we are in at the moment."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said delaying the 2020 general election was the "right thing to do" and would not impact the business community.
"I don't think that moving the general election is top of mind at the moment, which is a good reason to shift it," he said.
"I think it will get a bigger and better outcome by doing that. Everyone is pre-occupied with what is happening with the Covid issue. Hopefully, by October we will be back to level 1 and to a new normal," Heard said.
Professionals McDowell Real Estate co-owner Steve Lovegrove said he did not believe the change in election date will impact the property market. But he said there may be a rush to the market soon but not because of the election but a change in alert levels.
"The year 2020 is going to be recorded not only as the Covid year but the year that broke all the patterns in the mould," he said.
Lovegrove said the property market had "completely bucked" any negative impact on the market some economists predicted.
Harcourts Rotorua director Wayne Pamment said it was fairly common in an election year for the market to tend to slow.
However, he said 2020 has seemed to break all sense of normality within a standard season of buying and selling real estate and "we may just see our current strong market continue given low-interest rates and the large number of buyers coming home from overseas or investors continuing to expand their rental portfolios".
"Although there are increasingly higher job loses across the country and some businesses are struggling we are seeing as many people in the property market taking full advantage of historically low-interest rates and opportunities to get into their first home. It feels like a balanced seller's market right now."
Pamment said given the current Covid–19 restrictions a delay in the election date seemed "logical".
"The outcome from this for the real estate market is still up for debate," he said.
Today's decision solely came down to Ardern's choice.
At a press conference at the Beehive to announce the decision, Ardern said the re-emergence of Covid in the community is a cause for concern for the election period.
There was no suggestion New Zealand would be in elevated alert levels on September 19, she said.
While the Electoral Commission said voting could safely happen under alert level 2, Ardern said she also had to factor in participation of voters, fairness and certainty.
Under normal circumstances, the election date rests solely on the Prime Minister but Ardern said moving the election was a significant decision so consulted other political leaders.
Complete consensus was unlikely - but all agreed on certainty. Pushing an election out by several months didn't mean disruption was less likely, said Ardern.
"The Electoral Commission, via the Ministry of Justice, has advised me that a safe and accessible election is achievable on this date. This short delay gives the commission more time to prepare including freeing up facilities for early voting during school holidays," she said.
"Moving the date by four weeks also gives all parties a fair shot to campaign and delivers New Zealanders certainty without unnecessarily long delays.
"With the re-emergence of Covid-19 in our community these are not ordinary times and so while the decision as to the election date sits with me, I spoke with all party leaders to seek their views.
"Covid will be with us for some time to come. Continuously pushing out an election does not lessen the risk of disruption and this is why the Electoral Commission has planned for the possibility of holding an election where the country is at Level 2, and with some parts at Level 3.
"I will not change the election date again.
"This decision gives all parties time over the next nine weeks to campaign and the Electoral Commission enough time to ensure an election can go ahead."