04 June 2020

This guidance covers what it means to work in the Public Service before, during, and after an election. There’s also information on where to get further help on election-related issues and guidance on election preparation for agencies, as well as information relating to political neutrality that is also relevant for public servants outside of the election period.

He Ārahitanga Pōtitanga Whānui | General Election Guidance 2020 covers what it means to work in the State services before, during and after an election.

General elections are vital to our democratic form of government. This guidance supports the State services to maintain political neutrality and do the right thing during the election period.

It recognises State servants have the same rights to freedom of speech and political activity in their private lives as other New Zealanders.

There is information on the three phases of the election cycle: the pre-election period, election day and post-election period. The guidance 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.

All State servants have a role to play in supporting the integrity of our electoral process and the smooth transition between one government and the next.

More information will be added as we move through the election period.

General Election 2020 Guidance Documents

He Ārahitanga Pōtitanga Whānui | General Election Guidance identifies common principles and obligations that will help people who work in the State services during the lead-up to, and immediately after the 2020 general election.

Update to General Election Guidance: the date of the 2020 General Election has been rescheduled to 17 October 2020. This means the pre-election period commenced on 17 July.

Related Guidance

  • The Guidelines for Government advertising apply to the use of public funds for government advertising and publicity by Ministers and departments. Government advertising includes all public communications, advertising material, and launches and events. Under the guidelines, government advertising must not be conducted in a way that results in public funds being used to finance publicity for party political purposes.
  • Cabinet Office Circular: CO (20) 1 - Government Decisions and Actions in the Pre-Election Period provides guidance on government decisions and actions during the pre-election period. It covers:
    • Government decision-making generally during the pre-election period.
    • Making appointments in the pre-election period.
    • Conducting government advertising campaigns during the pre-election period.
    • The provision of information by the State services in the pre-election period.
  • Standards for providing information to political parties during negotiations to form a government sets out the process for political parties that wish to access support from public service agencies for the purpose of negotiations to form a government. The Standards are issued by the Public Service Commissioner under Schedule 3 of the Public Service Act 2020.
  • Cabinet Office Circular: CO (20) 5 - Constitutional Procedures after the Election provides guidance on government decisions and actions after the general election period.