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Government, Legislature

Legislative elections, electoral roll, Voter registration, national elections, voting districts

The legislature, or Parliament, is composed of one chamber, the House of Representatives. Parliament is vested with the power to make laws. The House of Representatives is composed of 120 members, who have been elected since 1996 according to what is known as the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system. In this system, half of the members are elected from voting districts (including six seats reserved for Maori representatives) and half are elected from party lists based on a party’s share of the vote in national elections. Legislative elections must be held at least every three years.

Voter registration is compulsory in New Zealand, but voting is voluntary. Registered electors, or persons who appear on the electoral roll, must be at least 18 years of age, citizens or permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least one year, and residents of the voting district in which they enroll for at least one month. People of Maori descent can enroll in either a general voting district or one of the Maori voting districts. Every elector, under the MMP system, has two votes: one for an electoral-district representative, and one for a political party.



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