General election and referendum voting today
The New Zealand electorate have been voting today in a general election and referendum on their preferred voting system.
Polls were open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time for the 3,053,705 registered voters to vote in the 2,655 polling stations around the country.
Three polls published on Thursday and Friday all show the ruling National Party on around 50% of the vote, enough to give them an overall majority for the first time.
The most recent poll in the New Zealand Herald by Digi Poll puts the National Party on 50.9%, the main opposition party on 28%, with the Greens doing well on 11.8%.
People are voting for the 120 seat House of Representatives. With the current Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system each voter gets two votes; one vote is registered for the party of their choice and the second for an individual candidate. This then translates into 70 members elected from electorates and 50 members elected from a party list system.
It is this voting system which is the subject of the referendum which is also taking place. Two questions are being asked of the voters;
1. Do you want to keep the current system of MMP?
2. If you want to change the system which alternative do you think will work best? They are then given a choice of the following systems; First Past The Post, Preferential Vote, Single Transferable Vote or Supplementary Member.
The results for both election and referendum should be known later today.