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LIVE: Election day pushed out to October 17

UPDATE 10.09AM: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the General Election will be held on 17 October.

“The Electoral Commission, via the Ministry of Justice, has advised me that a safe and accessible election is achievable on this date.

"This short delay gives the Commission more time to prepare including freeing up facilities for early voting during school holidays.

“Moving the date by four weeks also gives all parties a fair shot to campaign and delivers New Zealanders certainty without unnecessarily long delays.

“With the re-emergence of COVID-19 in our community these are not ordinary times and so while the decision as to the election date sits with me, I spoke with all party leaders to seek their views.

“COVID will be with us for some time to come. Continuously pushing out an election does not lessen the risk of disruption and this is why the Electoral Commission has planned for the possibility of holding an election where the country is at Level 2, and with some parts at Level 3.

“I will not change the election date again.

“This decision gives all parties time over the next nine weeks to campaign and the Electoral Commission enough time to ensure an election can go ahead."

The Prime Minister's announcement is being welcomed by NZ FIrst leader Winston Peters.

"New Zealand First is pleased that common sense has prevailed. We were concerned that the Covid outbreak had the effect of limiting campaigns to an unacceptably short period until overseas and advance voting begin if the General Election was held on September 19.

“As I said yesterday, voters are sovereign. Holding an election during a COVID outbreak has the risk of serious interference in our democracy. Voters would be expected to exercise their electoral rights with a dearth of information and that is unacceptable.

“With a delay Parties can now prepare to begin campaigning again, confident that they have the time and resources to engage in a free and fair election.

“New Zealand First will now be looking at our campaign strategy to ensure that we can to get back out on the campaign trail as soon as safely possible.”

Parliament is due to reconvene tomorrow, with dissolution of parliament planned for Septermber 6.

EARLIER:

Jacinda Ardern is making an announcement about whether the election will go ahead on 19 September, or whether it will be delayed.

The COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland has forced the suspension of political campaigning and prompted calls to postpone the general election.

Earlier today, Health Minister Chris Hipkins told Morning Report there isn't a risk-free option.

"Who knows what may happen in any given week or month," he says.

"The question the prime minister will be weighing up today is what's the best thing from a logistical perspective in making sure that everybody can vote and everybody's vote can be counted."

Meanwhile, Green Party co-leader James Shaw says calls for a delay to the election are politicking.

"I think it's 100 per cent electioneering. There are some political parties who are clearly prioritising their electoral fortunes over the health of our communities and strength of our democracy and I think that's extremely disappointing."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has says he wants the election delayed, saying there is now no ability to conduct a free and fair election on September 19.

The decision is solely in the hands of Ardern, who took the weekend to look at the latest advice from justice officials and spoke to a number of different people.

If the dissolution of Parliament does not go ahead today as scheduled, an election date later than September 19 will have to be chosen.

-RNZ

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3 Comments
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Agreed

Posted on 19-08-2020 06:29 | By

Patronising. Thinks everyone needs telling everything and the state must control all aspects of life. It takes a lot of explaining. Sadly, it seems 50% of Kiwis want this!

@ dumbkof2

Posted on 18-08-2020 10:57 | By

All her speeches are the same. Look at what it takes to get to the number of new cases each day. We have to get all the waffle of the previous days and months first and then recaps at the end with the same. She’s a great communicator not a great leader.

election

Posted on 17-08-2020 10:20 | By dumbkof2

it took her 10 min of waffling on to say what could have been said in 3 min