New Zealand Electoral System Advisory

New Zealand electoral system receives a “D” grade as part of a global study

The New Zealand federal electoral system received an overall score of 54.75 percent for electoral fairness in a global study being conducted by the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA), a non-partisan organization that advances fair and transparent democratic processes. Areas of analysis in the study includes fairness in electoral spending, equality of voter say, equality of candidate and party influence and equality of media coverage. A group of diverse and non-partisan FDA electoral auditors rated each section out of 10 points in terms of fairness.

Key points gleaned from the study:

  • The New Zealand overall electoral fairness score of 54.75 means that the country’s constitutional and legislative basis for its democracy is unacceptable.
  • New Zealand’s score of 10 percent for fairness of the media’s political content means that the country’s laws and regulations on the media’s political content is bordering on complete unfairness.
  • New Zealand’s score of 71.25 percent in equality of political candidate and party influence means that the country’s laws and regulations on the influence of candidates and parties are acceptable.
  • New Zealand’s score of 77.5 percent for its electoral finance laws means that the country’s laws and regulations on electoral finance are very satisfactory.
  • New Zealand’s score of 60 percent for equality of voter say means that New Zealand’s laws and regulations on voter say are unacceptable. Although there is freedom of expression and assembly, voters with access to major media outlets and more funds have an unfair advantage.

Media contacts:

Stephen Garvey, Executive Director Foundation for Democratic Advancement Phone: (403) 669-8132 Email:

Zeb Qureshi, Director of Marketing Foundation for Democratic Advancement Phone: (403) 390-9750 Email:

About the FDA:

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (“FDA”)’s mission is to advance fair and transparent democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA believes that fairer electoral systems and a more informed public will help ensure the election of candidates who truly represent the will of the people. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailed electoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively and impartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms of fairness and equity, and conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on New Zealand

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