How the election works

We promise to kick the jargon for this, but Aotearoa uses a Mixed Member Proportional system for our general elections. It’s often referred to as MMP - here’s a breakdown of what that means.

The basics

There are 120 seats in parliament up for grabs. The makeup of that 120 is determined by the outcome of the election - each party gets a number of seats that’s proportional to the percentage of votes they receive.

 That means if 50% of voters vote for a party, that party will get roughly 50% of the seats available - so somewhere around 60. If a party gets 20% of the votes, they’ll get about 20% of the seats - so roughly 24.

We have two types of seats - list seats and electorate seats. That also means you get two votes.

Vote #1: The party vote

The party vote is the big one. This vote determines the general makeup of parliament -  like we said before, if a party gets 50% of the party vote, it’ll get roughly 50% of the seats - so probs 60.

 If a party gets less than 5% of the party vote, it won’t get any seats in parliament - unless they win an electorate!

Vote #2: The electorate vote

 Your electorate is the area you live in. Aotearoa is divided into 71 electorates - 7 Māori electorates and 64 general ones. You can see which electorate you live in here.

The electorate vote chooses a person to represent that area - to work for that community and advocate for them on a national level.

The candidate running in your electorate who gets the most votes overall will win a seat in parliament. As you can imagine, there’s 71 seats in parli that correspond with the 71 electorates.

What parli looks like at the end

After the election, the final makeup of parliament is mostly decided by the party vote. So let’s say a party gets 50% of the party vote, and they’ve won 25 of the electorate seats. That means they’re entitled to roughly 60 seats - so they’ll also get about 35 list MPs in.

List MPs make up the difference between the number of electorate MPs a party has, and the number they’re entitled to be proportional to their party vote.

If you’re keen for more info on how the electoral system works, DM us on Facebook and we’ll be in touch ASAP!


Deciding who to vote for


There are heaps of ways you can decide who to vote for. This decision will be different for everyone and it takes a combination of heart, your values, the issues you care about, and the type of future you want to live in.


There are a bunch of tools that can help you get an idea of what each party is about. Some of them are still in the works, but for now we’d recommend you check out On the Fence. This one asks you a few questions about your opinions on key issues and lets you know which parties you most strongly align with.


There will be a few more organisations making tools to help you out as we get closer to the election. We’ll have more information as they go live, but to get the scoop you can follow them on Facebook at ActionStation and AskAway