Your employer must give you time off to vote in general (parliamentary) elections on polling day if:
- you are (or are qualified to be) registered as an elector of the district where the election is, and
- you haven’t had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work.
The amount of time you can have off to vote depends on whether you’re required for essential work or services:
- If you don’t have to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or services, your employer must allow you to leave work by 3pm for the rest of the day without deductions from your pay for this time off work.
- If you’re required to work for essential work or services after 3pm on the polling day your employer must allow you to leave work for a reasonable time to vote. Your employer can’t make deductions from your pay for time up to 2 hours that you spend off work.
Crew of ships
If a ship happens to be in port anywhere in New Zealand at the time of a general election or by-election in that district, the master of the ship must allow crew members who are (or are qualified to be) a registered voter, to go ashore to vote if they ask to. The master can’t stop them without reasonable cause and may be liable for a fine of up to $1000 if they stop crew from going ashore to vote.