6 Nov 2023

Election 2023: Deadline for recount applications this week

10:51 am on 6 November 2023
CEO of the Electoral Commission Karl Le Quesne announces the special votes for Election 2023

Chief electoral officer Karl Le Quesne. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Political parties and candidates have until the end of Wednesday 8 October to apply for a vote recount, the Electoral Commission says.

The final election results showed there were tight margins in some electorates.

Chief electoral officer Karl Le Quesne told Morning Report on Monday morning at that stage no one had applied for a recount.

Any recount requests would have to be lodged with the District Court.

"Once the Electoral Commission has been notified of that we meet with the judge and work through exactly how we're going to support the judge to do that".

It can take three to four days to get a recount done. "We supply all the staff but it's quite closely supervised by a District Court judge", Le Quesne said.

He said the total number of votes in a recount generally changed by a very small amount.

When asked whether three weeks was too long to count the special votes, Le Quesne said there was a lot to get through including processing new enrolments and recounting ordinary votes.

"We're going to have to look at the process to see what we can do quicker. We will provide advice in our report to parliament to see what could be done to speed up that process".

He said more resourcing to the Electoral Commission might be a solution but that was likely to cost the government more.

Who might want a recount?

After the release of the official vote count last week, National lost two seats after the count of special votes, Te Pāti Māori gained two and the Green Party has gained another.

The margins in some electorates are tight:

  • Te Pāti Māori candidate Takutai Tarsh Kemp won the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate by just 4 votes over Labour's Peeni Henare
  • Labour's Helen White beat National's Melissa Lee in Mt Albert by just 20 votes
  • Labour candidate Rachel Boyack won Nelson with a majority of 29 votes over the National candidate Blair Cameron.

National's Melissa Lee and Blair Cameron have indicated they may request a recount.

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer expected Labour to request a recount in Tāmaki Makaurau and told Morning Report her party would have done the same.

But she thinks Electoral Commission did a "poor job" for Māori voters, and said it was an opportunity to review processes with a fine-tooth comb.

"This wasn't an election that went well for a lot of our whānau. We had technical issues in the day, we had people walk away from queues, and understaffed queues. We had hundreds of people contacting us about how frustrated there were about voting."

Ngarewa-Packer said despite those failings, the results showed there was strong support for Te Pāti Māori.

She would like to see the Electoral Commission do better by voters in the 2026 election.

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