15 March 2023

This guidance covers what it means to work in the public sector before, during, and after an election. There is information about how agencies can prepare for the election period, and where to get help on election-related issues.

It looks at how the phases affect government business and processes. In particular, significant appointments, government advertising, policy advice and access by political parties to information from the sector during government formation negotiations.

There are practical tips and tools that are accessible and available for all public servants. The starting point is that, as individuals, public servants have the same rights to freedom of speech and to political activity as all New Zealanders.

Public servants have a crucial role to play in elections, and it is important to understand what is expected during the smooth transition between one government and the next.

Note: On 15 March 2023 the ‘who this guidance is for’ section was amended to improve clarity.


Related information and resources

Election Guidance 2023 pdf(PDF, 817 KB)

Summary of Guidance 2023 (PDF, 282 KB)

Case studies and scenarios 

Scenario 1: Public sector agency advertising a future vision for New Zealand (PDF, 528 KB)

Scenario 2: Advertising by a public sector agency of new products and services (PDF, 466 KB)

Scenario 3: Public sector agency receives an information request from its Minister (PDF, 800 KB)

Scenario 4: Staff commenting in the media on the current government's performance (PDF, 798 KB)

Scenario 5: Public servants appearing in publicity material that involves politicians (PDF, 821 KB)

Scenario 6: Social media campaign to publicise community services (PDF, 530 KB)

Scenario 7: Correction of misinformation (PDF, 525 KB)

Scenario 8: Publicity of future services and benefits (PDF, 529 KB)

Scenario 9: Consultation on proposed government policy that is politically controversial(PDF, 525 KB)

Accessible formats

General Election Guidance 2023  Audio file from Blind Low Vision NZ (WAV, 29 MB)

Summary of Guidance 2023 Large Print format from Blind Citizens NZ (DOCX, 50 KB)

General Election Guidance 2023 Video from Deaf Aotearoa

General Election Summary of Guidance 2023 Braille Format(BRF, 5 KB)

General Election Guidance Easy Read format (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Webinar presentation slides 

Webinar presentation slides on the Top 10 things to think about in election year (PDF, 769 KB)

Webinar presentation slides on Government Advertising (PPTX, 972 KB)