TVNZ's Your Vote 2020 coverage: Debates, polls and election specials

* This story has been updated with new timings following the Prime Minister's decison to delay the date of the election to October 17 due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland.

Simon Dallow, Hilary Barry, John Campbell and Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS

TVNZ has announced details of its election coverage which will include debates, polls, extensive election night reporting and the return of Vote Compass.

Graeme Muir, TVNZ’s Acting Head of News and Current Affairs, says: "In a year of global uncertainty and change, viewers want to make informed choices when casting their vote. 1 NEWS remains committed to delivering thorough, unbiased coverage across the political spectrum."

The first of the leaders debates is on September 22. Election night coverage on Saturday, October 17 is followed by a morning of special election programming on the Sunday.


Tuesday 22 September - The first Leaders’ Debate takes place between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins at 7-8.30pm on TVNZ 1. Moderated by John Campbell.

Monday 28 September - The Young Voters Debate in association with Auckland University will feature candidates from a range of parties and will be live streamed via and 1 NEWS social channels. Moderated by Jack Tame.

Thursday 8 October - The Multi-Party Debate will include NZ First, The Green Party, Act, Advance NZ and the Māori Party at 7-8pm on TVNZ 1. Moderated by Jessica Mutch McKay.

Thursday 15 October - The final Leaders’ Debate airs at 7-8pm on TVNZ 1. Featuring Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins, this will be the last broadcast debate before New Zealanders head to voting booths on Election Day. Moderated by Jessica Mutch McKay.

All debates will be live streamed and available for catch-up viewing on TVNZ OnDemand as well as on the 1 NEWS website, Facebook and YouTube pages.


Several 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton polls will be released during this period, giving viewers insight into which way voters are leaning.


Live on TVNZ 1 from 7pm on Saturday, October 17, the election night coverage will be fronted in studio by John Campbell, Hilary Barry and Simon Dallow. It will also be available on TVNZ OnDemand and the 1 NEWS website, Facebook and YouTube pages.

The 1 NEWS political team led by Jessica Mutch McKay will cross live from party bases around the country, providing expert analysis as the results come in.

A range of former politicians and political pundits from across the spectrum will join the studio presentation throughout the evening. Each will bring their own unique insights and perspectives to the coverage.


On the Sunday morning after the election, Q+A will be on TVNZ 1 at 8am with a two-hour special discussing the Election’s big winners and losers. Jack Tame will analyse what the next Government will look like and what moves they are likely to make.

Tagata Pasifika will also be on at 7.30am and, from 10am, Marae will focus on what the Election results mean for Māori.


New Zealand’s deaf and hard of hearing communities will have access to 1 NEWS’ election coverage. Live captioning for debates and the 1 NEWS Vote 20 Election Night Special on TVNZ 1 will be provided by ABLE, TVNZ’s accessibility partner.

In partnership with Deaf Aotearoa’s iSign interpreting service, a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreted version of all three debates will be broadcast live on Kordia channel 200.

This programme will offer Picture in Picture (PIP), with qualified and experienced interpreters shown as the primary image on screen and the party leaders appearing as a smaller image in the bottom corner. Each NZSL interpreted signed debate will be available on TVNZ OnDemand shortly after the broadcast has concluded.

These debates will also be available on Deaf Aotearoa’s website, giving viewers choice and control over how and when they access these.


The interactive survey tool Vote Compass is returning in the lead up to the General Election. In the 2017 Election more than 400,000 people used it to discover which party’s policies they most aligned with.

1 NEWS has developed Vote Compass in collaboration with leading New Zealand academics and Vox Pop Labs. The voter engagement initiative is presented in partnership with the Electoral Commission, Auckland University and Victoria University of Wellington. It will be available via the 1 NEWS website from late-August.


INSIDE PARLIAMENT - The 1 NEWS Gallery team will continue their weekly podcast throughout the campaign, with Jessica Mutch McKay, Maiki Sherman and Benedict Collins analysing the week's events. Available on and in the usual podcast places.

MARAE - pre-election coverage will focus on the Māori electorates.

Q+A - will cover a range of policy topics in the lead up to Election Day including robust discussion on the economy, environment, and the end of life choice and cannabis referendums.

TAGATA PASIFIKA will also feature Election talanoa in their programmes. Topics covered to date include Pacific candidates, young Pacific voters and the Cannabis Referendum.

RE: coverage will include an “I don’t know anything about politics” weekly political column, a series explaining the key issues of this election, and an election video series which puts everyday people at the centre of this campaign.

Full election coverage throughout the campaign at