With the 50th Parliament having sat for the final time, Ministers and other
MPs are now turning their attention to the election campaign. In this note,
we set out the important dates and identify some of the key features of this
The following timetable is established in part by the Constitution Act 1986
and the Electoral Act 1993:
|14 August ||Parliament dissolved|
|19 August||Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update released|
|20 August||Governor-General issues writ to Electoral Commission|
|20 September||Polling day|
|9 October||Electoral Commission returns writ, confirming result|
|20 November||Latest date on which Parliament will
As with previous MMP elections, it is likely that a period of inter-party
negotiation will follow polling day itself. This could take anything from a few
days to several weeks, depending on the outcome of the election.
Key features of pre-election period
Over the coming weeks, the public focus will inevitably be on campaign
speeches and policy releases. Nevertheless, it is worth noting the following
When Parliament is dissolved on 14 August, all Parliamentary business
(including bills working their way through the legislative process) will
formally lapse. The new Government will decide which matters are to be
reinstated in the new Parliament, and in what priority.
The current Government has full authority to govern during the pre-election
period (and Cabinet will continue to meet weekly). The famous ‘caretaker
convention’ only applies after polling day.
There are likely to be some restrictions on decision-making. For example, it
is usual for the Government to postpone making significant appointments. Perhaps
more importantly, Ministers are likely to be distracted by the campaign and so
not in a position to make significant policy decisions.
We will keep you informed as matters progress.
This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.