Education requirements to enter New Zealand Parliament

To become an elected government representative, there are basic requirements that must be met. As a prospective candidate, one must be;

  • At least 18 years old
  • A New Zealand citizen
  • Enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll
  • Elected by your electorate or be elected from a party list.

Members of parliament representing a political party are chosen by the party for an electorate or list seat.

One can only qualify to be a candidate in a general election if they are New Zealand citizens who are enrolled as voters and is not disqualified from enrolling e.g. actively serving a prison sentence disqualifies anyone seeking an election post. One must also have to be nominated as a candidate, either by the secretary of their political party or by two voters who are enrolled in their electorate.

In a typical election in New Zealand, a voter gets two votes: one for a person to represent their electorate and one for the political party they want to form the national government.

Therefore, one can become a member of Parliament in two different ways. The first way is that one can become an electorate member of parliament by being elected by the people in that specific community. Or, if one is a member of a political party they can become a “list MP”, which simply translates to being  chosen by their political party and given a ranking on their list. The number of people on that list become MPs will depend on how many party votes the party wins. If one is high up on the list, then they are more likely to get a seat in the House.  It is also possible to stand for a particular electorate, and also be included on the party list.

Education requirements

There are no specific courses that one must take in order to become a member of parliament. However, a broad knowledge in History, English and economics to at least NCEA level 2. Along with that, the representatives must display leadership characteristics like being trustworthy, motivated, display confidence, be skilled at making sober decisions, be an organised person, and inspire trust and confidence in others

Useful experience

Like in many situations, a potential candidate may possess the above characteristics but there are other useful experiences that will give them leverage over other candidates. Useful experience for elected government representatives are; work as a local government representative, a union official or delegate, have debating experience, work for a political party or pressure group. Some added experience in law, economics, education or a specialist fields like health and social work is a great advantage.