New Zealand maintains a robust, long-established democratic system in the South Pacific. It enjoys a reputation for integrity and is generally ranked among the world’s top countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the consequent first postponement of an election since World War II failed to mar that status.

This case study looks at the complexities faced in the delivery of New Zealand’s 2020 general election, at a time in which the pandemic had reached the country but was still predominantly contained. It also examines the impact of the pandemic on key aspects and operations of the 2020 general election, including on campaigning, the mobilization of the temporary election workforce, the cost of the election, the voting methods, levels of interagency cooperation and voter participation, providing recommendations based on lessons learned to be considered for future elections.


Publication date
06 September 2023
Deidre Brookes
Number of pages
978-91-7671-662-5 (PDF)


A complex environment in the lead up to the 2020 general election

Election dates and complexity

Impacts on campaigning

Covid-19 pivot for the temporary election workforce 

Financial impacts 

Voting methods employed

Special measures introduced for the 2020 general election

Significant enhancements over the past decade

Interagency cooperation

Undeterred voter participation

Looking forward


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Retaining Integrity in Pandemic Elections: The Case of New Zealand’s 2020 General Election

Case study, July 2023
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