Voting from overseas in the first referendum on the New Zealand flag

Just because you are out of the country does not mean you have to miss out on having your say in two referendums on the future of the New Zealand flag.

First, between 20 November and 11 December 2015, you’ll be able to vote in a binding referendum on the question If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?

You’ll be asked to rank the alternative flag designs selected through the Flag Consideration Process from those suggested by New Zealanders.

Visit flag.govt.nz for more information about the alternative flag designs.

Then, in March 2016, there will be another binding referendum to choose between the preferred alternative flag design from the first referendum and the current New Zealand flag.

The flag that receives the most votes in the second referendum will be the official flag of New Zealand.

Both referendums will take place by post, so it’s important to make sure you are enrolled and ready to take part.


Who can vote?

You can vote in the referendums if you are eligible and enrolled before voting starts.

You are eligible if you:

- are 18 years or older; and

- have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously at some time in your life; and

- are a New Zealand citizen and have visited New Zealand within the past three years; or

- are a permanent resident of New Zealand and have visited New Zealand within the past 12 months


Make sure you’re ready to take part

To vote in the first referendum, you must be correctly enrolled by Thursday 19 November.

Voting papers are sent in the mail, so it is very important to make sure that you enrol early, and that you update your details if you have moved house.

Enrolling or updating your details is easy.

To get an enrolment form:

How to get your voting paper

If you’re enrolled and provided an overseas postal address your voting papers will be sent to you at that address. Voting papers are sent from New Zealand from Wednesday 18 November. You can request a replacement voting paper if it doesn’t arrive by Friday 27 November.

If you don’t have an overseas postal address on the electoral roll, your voting papers will be sent to your New Zealand address. You will need to arrange to get your voting papers posted to you from New Zealand.

If you know you will be overseas during the entire voting period and don’t have an overseas postal address on the electoral roll, you can request your voting paper sent to an overseas address from Friday 30 October.  These will be sent from New Zealand from Wednesday 18 November.


How to return your voting paper

There are three ways to return your voting paper from overseas.

You can upload a photograph or scanned image of your voting paper at www.elections.org.nz or fax (+64 4 494 2300) it to the Electoral Commission before 7pm Friday 11 December (NZ time).

You can also send it by post to the Electoral Commission, but need to make sure the envelope is post-marked by Thursday 10 December.