The Prime Minister, John Key, announced today that the general election will be held on September 20th. This is a Saturday. Elections are always held on a Saturday, from 9am till 7pm.
Usually the general election is in November but it can be earlier. Mr Key said that he wanted the election earlier this time because the Prime Minister should attend the G20 meeting in Brisbane in the middle of November. The G20 is a meeting of 19 countries and the EU.
We have general elections every 3 years. This is not an election for local governments. General elections are to elect Members of Parliament from the whole country. Parliament is in Wellington, the capital city.
We have 120 MPs – Members of Parliament (sometimes 121). John Key’s government is from the National Party with 59 MPs. He has been the Prime Minister since 2008. The main Opposition Party is Labour (34 MPs) with David Cunnliffe as leader. Smaller parties in Parliament are the Green Party (14 MPs), the Maori Party (3 MPs), NZ First (8 MPs), Mana (1 MP), United Future (1 MP) and ACT (1 MP).
John Key said that there will be a referendum about our flag at the same time as the election. Listen to February 28th 2014 to hear more about changing our flag.
Opposition – the Opposition MPs sit opposite the government MPs in Parliament
1. What is the role (the job) of the Opposition in a democracy?
2. A coalition is a government made up of more than one party. To be the government, a coalition would need 61MPs. Can you see why the smaller parties are important? (Note: 3 small parties supported the National Party in 2011.)