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Clerk Of The Writs : Issue Of Writs

CLERK OF THE WRITS : ISSUE OF WRITS

Constitutional processes leading up this year’s General Election and Citizens Initiated Referenda will begin on Writ Day, Wednesday 27 October , with the issuing of the Electoral Writs at a ceremony at the Department of Internal Affairs, Waring Taylor Street at 9.00 am.

Clerk of the Writs, Secretary for Internal Affairs Dr Roger Blakeley, will begin issuing Writs to all 67 electoral districts at the ceremony which will be attended by the Returning Officers for Wellington Central and Rongotai.

Citizens Initiated Referenda writs will be issued separately later that same day.

The Office of Clerk of the Writs was established under the Regulation of Elections Act 1870 and was first held by the Colonial Secretary and then by successive Secretaries for Internal Affairs to the present day. This statutory position has no duties apart from those under the Electoral Act 1993.

Writ Day is the trigger for the following activities:

· All activity concerning the registration of political parties and the registration of party logos must cease by the Electoral Commission on Writ Day. A political party not registered by Writ Day will not be eligible to nominate a party list for the election and similarly a party logo not registered by that day will not be able to appear on the ballot paper. · The electoral rolls that will be used on Polling Day close on Writ Day although enrollment can continue up until the day before Polling Day. · The writ is a legal document that authorises each Returning Officer to run an election in their electorate. Each writ must contain the latest day for the nomination of candidates, the day for the election to be held (which must be a Saturday), and the latest day for the return of the writ. The receipt of the Writ by each of the 67 Returning Officers will enable them to call for nominations of electorate candidates. This needs to be done by public notice. Electorate candidate nominations will close at noon on Nomination Day, Wednesday 3 November 1999. Nominations cannot be accepted by Returning Officers until after the Writs are issued.

NB: CHIEF REPORTERS/ EDITORS: MEDIA ARE WELCOME TOATTEND THE CEREMONY . PLEASE CONTACT

Pamela Fleming.Media Adviser, Department of Internal Affairs

Email: pamela.fleming@dia.govt.nz, Website: www.dia.govt.nz

FURTHER BACKGROUND ON THE WRITS PROCESS

Following the Governor-General?s Proclamation dissolving Parliament, the Governor-General directs the Clerk of the Writs to issue writs to the Returning Officer for each electoral district. The Governor-General?s warrant to the Clerk of the Writs is countersigned by the Minister of Justice. The Electoral Act 1993 provides that the Governor-General must do this within seven days from the dissolution of Parliament and that the Clerk of the Writs must issue the writs to Returning Officers within three days of receiving the Governor-General?s warrant. Parliament was dissolved on Monday 18 October, the Governor-General?s warrant for electoral writs issued Monday 25 October, and electoral writs to be issued on the morning of 27 October; the Governor-General?s warrant for Citizens Initiated Referenda writs issued at 6.00pm 27 October and writs to be issued later that same evening.

Once the election has been held and official count completed, the Returning Officer issues a public notice declaring the result. Candidates have three days in which they can seek a judicial recount. If the Returning Officer is satisfied that the result is not going to be challenged, or after the period in which a candidate may seek a judicial recount has expired, the Returning Officer returns to the Clerk of the Writs the writ endorsed with the name of the successful candidate. The Clerk of the Writs then compiles a list of all elected members. This will be done in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer who has responsibility for the compilation of the Party List returns. These Lists are forwarded to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, together with a copy of the writs. The election result, with members? names and electoral districts, is gazetted in the NZ Gazette.

Pamela Fleming Media Adviser, Department of Internal Affairs

Email: pamela.fleming@dia.govt.nz, Website: www.dia.govt.nz


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