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Overseas Kiwis get to place their vote for October election from tomorrow

Kiwis living in Australia will kick off New Zealand's election tomorrow, when overseas voting begins for the October 17 poll.

Ballot box Source: 1 NEWS

So long as they are enrolled and have visited home since the last election, New Zealand citizens can vote in the election, which Jacinda Ardern's Labour party is expected to win convincingly.

However New Zealand's quirky electoral system gives Kiwis the choice on how much power to hand Ardern, an issue weighing on many minds.

More than 50,000 Kiwis are expected to vote from Australia.

They will also be allowed to vote in referendar on two social issues: to legalise cannabis and for assisted dying or euthanasia.

The 2020 election has been heavily affected by Covid-19.

Only a quarter of last election's overseas-based voting places are open given the pandemic. Polling places in Melbourne, Alice Springs, Brisbane and Gold Coast are completely closed.

One Sydney site is accepting postal ballots, while Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Perth are open for voting.

Full information on venues and support is available on the Vote NZ website, though the Electoral Commission is asking internationally roaming Kiwis to vote electronically if possible.

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The first televised clash between the Labour and National leaders received mixed reviews from critics. Source: 1 NEWS

The Electoral Commission offers an upload-download service which it expects to be more popular than ever given Covid restrictions around the world.

Michael, a Napier-born Kiwi now living with his partner in Melbourne, says he's looking forward to doing his patriotic duty abroad.

"I'm grateful to be able to vote. I take an active interest. I've got heaps of friends and family in New Zealand and I'm still engaged and affected by what goes on," he told AAP.

The Melburnian says he is a fan of New Zealand's mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system, introduced at a referendum in time for the 1996 election, which gives out seats proportionally.

In practice, the MMP system asks parties to work together to form coalition governments. In eight elections since, no single party has won enough vote to govern alone.

That could change in 2020, with Labour polling around 50 per cent owing to Ardern's runaway popularity. Jeremy, another Melburnian who grew up in the NZ's beautiful Taranaki region, doesn't want a Labour majority.

"Aunty Cindy, there's too much hysteria around her," he says.

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"She's an excellent prime minister and I support what she's done but I don't think an overwhelming majority is good.

"New Zealand is an egalitarian country because it's generally ruled by minority governments."

Kathryn, who last lived in the capital Wellington and was raised in Alexandra in South Island's Otago region, notes with pride Kiwis have two female choices for prime minister.

Up against Ardern is Judith Collins, leader of the opposition National party.

It is New Zealand's second all-female face-off, following the 1999 election when Helen Clark's Labour swept Jenny Shipley's National from office.

"Jacinda is a great leader and she's dealt with more challenges than most in a few years," Kathryn told AAP.

"But she's only one person. There's got to be a strong cabinet and parliament behind her."

Kathryn says she is aware of the referendums as she follows Clark, a cannabis legalisation advocate, on Instagram, but hasn't made up her mind.

Michael says he is "100 per cent" in favour of the assisted dying as it is "similar to what's been able to happen in Victoria".

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While 20 per cent of people on Vote Compass supported the idea, the majority, 70 per cent disagreed. Source: Breakfast

"It seems pretty sensible to me, it gives people choice," he says.

"I'll probably vote in favour of cannabis too. It reduces wasted police time. I'm not pro-cannabis but we spend too much time and energy worrying about it."

The EC says around 67,000 voters are enrolled at an overseas address, though more internationally-based Kiwis are eligible if they are enrolled somewhere in New Zealand and are away during the election.

Australia houses 60 per cent of all overseas-enrolled voters, well ahead of the next-best United Kingdom (17 per cent), the USA (six per cent) and Canada (two per cent).

In addition to overseas-based voters, disabled Kiwis can also begin voting tomorrow, with the Electoral Commission staffing the phones to help.

Polling places will open to accept regular votes on Saturday October 3, when advance voting starts.

The Electoral Commission has also made a last-minute amendment to electoral law to allow Kiwis in managed isolation facilities to vote via dictation.

Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright expects to offer the service to around 5000 people undergoing quarantine during the election period.