New Zealanders on Monday started voting for a new government as advance in-person balloting opened ahead of the Oct 14 general election.
Chief Electoral Officer Karl Le Quesne said in a statement that 400 polling places were open on Monday. "That number will increase as we head towards election day,” he said.
Voting before election day has increased in popularity, and in 2020, 68% of votes were cast in advance, Le Quesne said.
Overseas electronic and in-person voting at embassies opened last week for enrolled voters. New Zealand does not use mail voting but in special circumstances some people can vote electronically.
New Zealand opposition National Party is currently ahead in the polls but is unlikely to receive sufficient support to govern alone and will likely have to form a partnership with at least one minor party.
However, under New Zealand's mixed member proportional system surprises are possible.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, leader of the Labour Party, is currently isolating with Covid-19, temporarily side-lining him in the campaign.