A television host’s question on motherhood to the new leader of New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party has prompted a row over gender roles in the country that was the first to give women the right to vote. Jacinda Ardern was elected head of Labour on Tuesday, and at 37 she is the youngest person, and second woman (Helen Clark, the first, was also a prime minister), to lead the party. The headlines about her so far have been enthusiastic. She’s being portrayed as “authentic,” “powerful, composed, and eloquent”—all traits she’ll need when New Zealand votes next month in parliamentary elections. Her party’s poor performance in the polls prompted Andrew Little, its leader, to step down. Ardern, who had been spoken of as a future party leader, ascended to the post almost immediately. But if persuading the electorate that Labour is worth voting for is one battle for Ardern, her other battle was persuading television panelists that her future plans for motherhood was irrelevant to her potential leadership of New Zealand. She and her partner, Clarke Gayford, don’t have children, and Ardern has previously discussed how wanting children has made her think about her professional choices. But the questions about parenthood began a few hours after her election Tuesday as Labour’s leader.Full Article: How Motherhood Became an Election Issue in New Zealand - The Atlantic.
Articles about voting issues in New Zealand.
New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern Takes Over New Zealand Opposition as Election Looms | The New York Times
New Zealand’s political opposition was jolted by an abrupt change at the top on Tuesday as the Labour Party leader quit amid dismal polling numbers and a rising star, Jacinda Ardern, took over just weeks before a general election. Ms. Ardern, 37, has been seen as leadership material since she became Parliament’s youngest sitting member at age 28. But with the New Zealand election campaign already in full swing, and the face of her predecessor, Andrew Little, still on the billboards, Ms. Ardern joked to reporters Tuesday morning that she had just accepted “the worst job in politics.” Mr. Little nominated Ms. Ardern, previously his deputy, to replace him after two polls this week showed support for the left-leaning Labour Party hitting just 24 percent, its lowest level in decades.Full Article: Jacinda Ardern Takes Over New Zealand Opposition as Election Looms - The New York Times.
New Zealand: Greens’ co-leader says his MP spoke ‘out of turn’ on New Zealand First | The National Business Review
Green Party co-leader James Shaw is distancing himself and his party from comments made by new MP Barry Coates about the party not supporting a Labour/New Zealand First government. In a post on The Daily Blog, Barry Coates – a list MP who entered Parliament in October last year – said if the Greens are not part of a coalition government, the party would not accept a Labour/New Zealand First government. Mr Coates said this could mean forcing the country back to the polls for another election. “[Labour/New Zealand First] could not count on the support of the Green Party there is no automatic support that is provided for a government under those circumstances,” he wrote. But Mr Shaw says Mr Coates spoke “out of turn.”Full Article: Greens’ co-leader says his MP spoke ‘out of turn’ on NZ First | The National Business Review.
New Zealand: How New Zealand’s growing alt-right movement plans to influence the election | New Zealand Herald
A worldwide surge in populist politics has breathed new life into the vestiges of New Zealand’s far right. Kirsty Johnston reports from within the fringe. When outrage over racist posters at Auckland University hit headlines in late March, their white supremacist creators were elated. They’d tricked the media! Their message was being heard! Their Facebook page was up to almost 100 likes! Members of the Western Guard, the supremacists’ secret online group, began to plan a second wave. They decided to mobilise their new recruits and plaster campuses nationwide. They made signs for Nelson, for New Plymouth, for Taupo. “White Lives Matter” the templates read. “You can prevent white genocide. Your country needs YOU!” As more recruits joined in the coming days, energy built. The fledgling club discussed its limits – were gays allowed? No way, the hive mind said. They decreed it was probably best not to use ethnic slurs in public “just yet”.Full Article: How NZ's growing alt-right movement plans to influence the election - NZ Herald.
Arthur Taylor and six other inmates claim they were unlawfully barred from voting in the 2014 general election. In 2010 Parliament passed a law preventing all sentenced prisoners from voting, regardless of the length of their sentence. However earlier electoral legislation allowed prisoners serving a jail term of less than three years to vote. At the time the legislation was being considered, the Attorney-General warned Parliament that a blanket ban contravened the Bill of Rights, but the law was passed anyway.Full Article: Push for prisoners' voting rights continues | Radio New Zealand News.
Mark it in your diary – New Zealand will go to the polls on 23 September. That Saturday has been the most widely-picked date, and will take place almost three years to the day since the 2014 election. Before he resigned as Prime Minister, John Key dropped hints about a September election. Bill English has stuck to that timetable. To go much earlier would have opened the party up to criticism it was panicking, and that it feared Mr English could not hold, or attract, the attention of voters for that many months. He will want to give himself as much time as possible to settle in as Prime Minister, and have as many photo opportunities as possible with world leaders at international events, all of which helps build the “prime ministerial” image.Full Article: Election date set, let the campaigning begin | Radio New Zealand News.
Local body election time is over for another three years, and even before polls closed, there were laments over low turnout. A low turnout undermines the legitimacy of the winners and can point to wider problems: disillusionment with democratic processes, institutions and actors. It is also problematic because some groups are less likely to vote than others, and so candidates appeal to the interests of those who vote over those who don’t. Older people and home owners are more likely to vote in local body elections, which may explain the prevalence of ‘controlling rates’ as a campaign slogan. In the lead up to the 2016 local body elections, a trial of electronic voting was proposed and was some way towards implementation before being abandoned, because of security concerns. A number of commentators have argued the online voting will help turn around declining local body election turnouts, but I want to argue this is not necessarily the solution to the problem. I ask two simple questions: will the proposed solution solve the problem, and what new problems will it create? Not only should the solution work, but, when balancing all effects, it should be worthwhile.Full Article: No Silver Bullet: Online voting and local election turnout | Scoop News.
The online voting trial for this year’s local body elections are not going ahead, the Government has announced. Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston says there is more work to be done to ensure a trial of online voting meets public and government expectations. “Public confidence in local elections is fundamentally important. Given real concerns about security and vote integrity, it is too early for a trial,” says Upston. “Due to timing restrictions, preparations for the proposed trial have not yet met the legislative requirements and cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results,” she explains.Full Article: IT Brief NZ - Online voting trial canned.
New Zealand’s online voting trial, slated for local government elections this year, has collapsed with the national government scrapping the plan. Associate minister for local government Louise Upton yesterday sent a statement to Radio NZ saying they couldn’t “meet legislative requirements” in time for the elections. Last November, the NZ government published a requirements document that stated the local governments involved in the trial had to get independent assurance that their proposed solutions meet both national and local government technical requirements, including the security and accuracy of the system.Full Article: NZ government scraps e-voting trial • The Register.
Two councils that signed up to trial online voting at this year’s elections are disappointed at the Government’s decision to can it. Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston says more work needs to be done and there are “real concerns” about security and vote integrity. “Due to timing restrictions, preparations for the proposed trial have not yet met the legislative requirements and cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results. “Security testing has been planned but has not yet occurred. Without seeing the results of testing, we cannot be confident the systems are secure enough and the trial could not be authorised.”Full Article: Online voting trial axed amid security concerns | Politics | Newshub.
Online voting trials are looking increasingly unlikely to take place at October’s local body elections in Palmerston North, Whanganui and six other centres. The Department of Internal Affairs will only say a decision is expected to be announced “shortly”. But at least one Palmerston North City councillor is concerned that with six months to go, time is running out. The council has set aside $100,000 in the budget included in its proposed Annual Plan that is out for consultation. Cr Aleisha Rutherford, who pushed for Palmerston North to sign up for the online trial, said councillors were telling residents who asked in discussions about the Annual Plan that it was “highly unlikely” the money would be spent.Full Article: Time is running out for go-ahead for online voting trials | Stuff.co.nz.
New Zealand has voted to keep its traditional flag in a snub to the prime minister, John Key. Preliminary results announced at 8.30pm local time on Thursday showed that 1,200,003 (56.6%) of voters wanted to keep the Union flag-centred emblem. Only 915,008 (43.2%) opted for the proposed new design by Kyle Lockwood featuring a silver fern. The results of the referendum, which is estimated to have cost NZ$26m (£12m), are expected be confirmed next Wednesday. The long-serving and popular Key had strongly supported the flag change but it was not enough to win a majority, with many suspicious of him trying to use the issue to build a legacy. However, he said after the results were announced that New Zealanders should embrace the current flag and “more importantly, be proud of it”.Full Article: New Zealand votes to keep its flag after 56.6% back the status quo | World news | The Guardian.
New Zealand: NZ First calls for Hindi flag votes to be nullified, after translation differs | Stuff.co.nz
A slight change in the Hindi translation of flag referendum instructions is “misleading”, claim NZ First. Therefore, party leader Winston Peters has called for all votes from Hindi-speaking people to be nullified. The pamphlet titled ‘How to vote’ accompanies the ballot papers, and sets out the first step in English: “Tick the flag you want to be the New Zealand flag”. However, the Hindi translation reads: “Tick the flag you want to be the new New Zealand flag” – the word ‘new’ had been inserted.Full Article: NZ First calls for Hindi flag votes to be nullified, after translation differs | Stuff.co.nz.
There’s nothing sinister in the layout of the second flag referendum voting paper, despite a conspiracy theory circulating the internet, the Electoral Commission says. It’s a simple piece of paper with a very important question: “What is your choice for the New Zealand flag?” and has the alternative blue and black silver fern flag placed above the current flag. Posts on social media have criticised the placement of the flags, claiming it could give the Kyle Lockwood-designed flag an advantage and making it more likely people will tick its box. But the Electoral Commission says the order of the flags was determined by a random draw as required by the Flag Referendums Act and was witnessed by a district court judge.Full Article: The truth behind the latest flag referendum conspiracy theory | NZNews | Newshub.
New Zealanders began voting Thursday on whether to adopt a new flag, in a referendum Prime Minister John Key has called a once-in-a-generation chance to ditch Britain’s Union Jack from the national banner. After 18 months of heated debate, Kiwis must choose between an existing flag that Key insists is a colonial relic and an alternative silver fern design critics label “an ugly beach towel”. About three million ballot papers are being distributed in the South Pacific nation of 4.5 million people for the vote, conducted only by post, which closes on March 24. The result will be binding and John Burrows, the head of a panel overseeing the referendum, said New Zealanders would have to live with their choice far into the future. “Whatever the decision, this flag will fly for generations to come,” he said.Full Article: New Zealand flag vote -- 'beach towel v colonial relic' - Yahoo News.
Serious weaknesses exposed in an online election in Australia are a warning for upcoming New Zealand local body elections, a computer security expert is warning. Eight councils throughout New Zealand are due to trial online voting in local body elections later this year: Selwyn, Wellington, Porirua, Masterton, Rotorua, Matamata Piako, Palmerston North and Whanganui. University of Melbourne computing expert Vanessa Teague did an analysis of the iVote internet voting system used in the New South Wales (NSW) state election last year, and she and the University of Michigan’s Alex Halderman have found a way to break into the system and interfere with votes. She told Nine To Noon there had been a lot of assurances about the safety of the system, and she wanted to test it and see if this was true.Full Article: Is internet voting secure enough to use? | Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 15 February 2016 | Radio New Zealand.
Whanganui is getting too committed to being part of a costly online voting trial, according to councillor Rob Vinsen. Mr Vinsen has been a staunch opponent of Whanganui District Council being part of the test, which could happen in this October’s local body elections. While no final decision has been made, the council has put its hat into the ring and been shortlisted as one of eight local authorities to conduct the trial. The Government is expected to announce within days if the trial will go ahead and which councils will take part. Mr Vinsen said mayor Annette Main had given an assurance that councillors would get the chance to vote whether or not to be involved, but he was alarmed to read in the Manawatu Standard that the Palmerston North City Council believes Whanganui is committed to this trial. He said many of his council colleagues saw it as a waste of $75,000, which is the expected cost of the online voting trial.Full Article: Warning given over online voting trial.
Wanganui might be one of the eight councils in line to trial online voting in next October’s local body elections but it is not a given that it will participate. The Government still has to give final approval for the trial and that is not expected until February 5. A number of Whanganui District councillors still have misgivings about being in the trial. Mayor Annette Main told the council’s meeting this week that when the Government make its final decision that would be the time when the council could decide if it wanted to take part.Full Article: Online voting trial slammed as 'ego trip' - Wanganui Chronicle - Wanganui Chronicle News.
A flag with a silver fern on a black-and-blue background was confirmed Tuesday as New Zealand’s preferred option if the country decides to replace its current standard that features Britain’s Union Jack. The counting of late and overseas votes from a recent referendum on the New Zealand flag confirmed the preliminary results released last week, electoral commission officials said.Full Article: Final voting confirms winner in New Zealand flag referendum - Yahoo News.
New Zealand: Possible new flag features fern and stars, with 2nd vote to be held in March | Associated Press
New Zealanders know what their new potential national flag will look like, except that they’re not quite set on the color. In a postal ballot, New Zealanders chose from among five designs, and both their favorites feature the country’s iconic silver fern next to the stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation. The only difference is, one flag is black and the other is red. Preliminary results released Friday showed the black option narrowly leading the red in a race that’s too close to call since not all votes have been counted. The winner will be announced Tuesday. Whichever flag wins will then be pitted head-to-head against the current flag in a second vote to be held in March.Full Article: New Zealand's possible new flag features fern and stars - US News.