About the New Zealand Election Study |
Background on the New Zealand Election
Through the analysis of political behaviour over nine successive New Zealand elections, we
have been monitoring the democratic process in New Zealand during a period of social and
economic change and, most particularly, during the transition between electoral systems:
the first past the post (FPP) or plurality electoral system in effect in New Zealand from
the origins of the political system, and the new Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system
which is in effect from the 1996 election.
The NZES began in its present form in 1990,
continued in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017 and its most recent study includes the 2020 general election. The NZES's main source of data are questionnaires
which are posted to randomly selected registered electors across the country immediately
following each election. Questions focus on voting choices, political opinions, and social
and demographic characteristics.
Data from the NZES programme are available for secondary analysis. Data can be downloaded
directly from this website free of charge. Click here for instructions.
These data are also deposited at the Australian Social
Science Data Archives at the Australian National University, Canberra and with the
University of Aucklandís Centre of Methods and Policy Applications in the Social Sciences Research Centre (COMPASS)
The 2020 Election
The 2020 Election was held on Saturday, 17 October. The 2020 NZES is funded by Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Electoral Commission, and the Universities of Auckland and Otago. It was administered by mail and online by the Public Policy Institute (PPI) at the University of Auckland.
The 2017 Election
The 2017 election was held on September 23. While the incumbent National Party gained the
largest number of seats, it was short of a majority in Parliament. The final vote count
was released on October 7. On October 19, New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters annouced
his party would form a coalition government with Labour, with the Green Party guaranteeing confidence
and supply, and with three ministers outside Cabinet.
The 2017 NZES was funded by Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Electoral Commission,
the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, the British Academy, and AUT University.
The 2014 Election
The 2014 election was held on September 20. Its outcome was
the re-election of a National Party-led government for a third term.
The 2011 Election
The 2011 election was held on November 26. The 2011 NZES included module 4 of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES)
programme and also included questions that will be used to analyse the results of the
electoral system referendum concurrent with the election. It was funded by various sources
within the University of Auckland, the Electoral Commission, the McDougall Trust, and AUT
University. Survey administration was conducted by the Centre of Methods and Policy
Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS) at the University of Auckland, which is also
one of the funders of the project. Dr. Gerard Cotterell, Manager of COMPASS, led the
administration of the survey research.
The 2008 Election
The 2008 election was held on November 8, 2008. The result was
a change of government from a Labour-led to a National-led government. Support
predominantly came from various sources within the University of Auckland and the
Electoral Commission, with some further funding from the University of Houston, the New
Zealand Treasury, and AUT University.
The 2008 Election Study includes module 3 of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems
(CSES) programme. The dataset contains 3042 respondents, of whom 636 are an oversample
from the seven Maori electorates. Part of the data is a three-wave panel to 2002 (948
respondents). Among the freshly-sampled respondents, the response rate was about 40 per
The 2005 Election
New Zealand's fourth election under MMP was held on
September 17, 2005. It was much more closely fought than recent New Zealand elections.
Official results can be found here, and in more detail at the New Zealand elections
website. The 2005 New Zealand Election contains two main elements. The first is our
standard post-election survey, with questionnaires sent by post to several thousand New
Zealanders. This was funded by the University of Auckland, Auckland University of
Technology, and the New Zealand Electoral Commission.
The dataset contains 3743 respondents, of whom 1130 are an oversample from the seven
Maori electorates. Part of the data is a three-wave panel to 1999 (767 respondents) and a
four-wave panel to 1996 (397 respondents). Tables from the data may be obtained on request
from the collaborators on the basis of marginal costs.
The second element of the 2005
NZES was more experimental, and took place on the internet only, in two waves, one
immediately before the election, and another after the final results were announced.
Preliminary results from the pre-election wave can be found here. Unlike most internet
surveys, this was based on a random sample of enrolled voters, to whom postcards were sent
during the final week of the campaign. The first-wave response rate was just over 10 per
cent, and reflected surprisingly well the age and gender breakdown of the electorate. Work
is continuing on this sample to determine if it may be a viable method of administering a
campaign survey at the next election.
The 2002 Election
third election under MMP was held on July 27, 2002. Voters' Veto: The 2002 Election in New
Zealand and the Consolidation of Minority Government, edited by Jack Vowles, Peter Aimer,
Susan Banducci, Jeffrey Karp, and Raymond Miller and published by Auckland University
Press is available from various sources. You can view the preface here. Please contact the publisher
for further information about ordering: