Only parties applying to be registered or existing registered parties may apply to the Electoral Commission to register a logo.
A party can apply for both party and logo registration at the same time, in which case the two applications will be processed together and will take approximately eight weeks provided the applications meet all of the legal requirements. Where a logo application is made separate to an application to register a party it usually takes about one month to process from the date the Commission receives an application that meets all the legal requirements.
There is no fee to apply to register a party logo with the Commission.
Parties are free to use unregistered variants of the logo in different formats (e.g. advertising, letterhead, etc.) for campaign purposes.
Party logos on the ballot paper
A registered party does not have to register a logo, but only registered logos can appear on a ballot paper.
On the ballot paper, the logo is reproduced within an area 14mm wide and 7mm high using the process colour printing technique (four colour printing, as in a newspaper or magazine). Parties should ensure the registered logo is designed to be reproduced at this size.
We can provide you with a mock up of how the party logo will appear on the ballot paper. Before each general election, we will also provide each party with a sample ballot paper showing how its party name and logo will appear on the ballot paper.
Electorate candidates are arranged alphabetically by surname on the right-hand side of the ballot paper with a registered logo to the right of the name (the electorate vote).
If the candidate’s party is contesting the party vote, the name of the party is printed opposite the name of the candidate on the left-hand side of the ballot paper (the party vote) with the party logo to the left of the party name.
If the candidate is an independent or contesting on behalf of an unregistered party, the space on the left-hand side opposite the candidate’s name is left empty, and no logo appears next to the candidate’s name.
Parties contesting the party vote but not the electorate vote are listed alphabetically on the left-hand side of the ballot paper, after the other parties standing candidates, with the party logo to the left of the party name.
Deadline for registration
A party logo must be registered before writ day for an election for it to appear on the ballot paper. The Electoral Act prevents the Commission processing an application between writ day and the return of the writ for a general election and by-election.
Although there is no statutory deadline for submitting a logo application prior to an election, there are a number of steps the Commission must complete when processing an application to register a logo.
Please allow sufficient time for a logo application to be processed if an application is made in the run up to an election.
Applying for logo registration
The party secretary or an MP who is a current financial member of the party must make the application to register a party logo. The application must be in writing and must be signed by the applicant.
Where the application is made in conjunction with an application to register a party, the application form for a party can also be used to apply to register the party’s logo.
Where an application to register a logo is progressed on its own, the applicant should provide a covering letter that includes the following:
- name of the party
- name and address of the applicant and the capacity in which he or she makes the application, and
- name and address of the party secretary, if that is not the person making the application.
A hard copy of the application can be sent by post, courier or hand delivered to:
Level 10, 34-42 Manners Street, Wellington
PO Box 3220, Wellington
Electronic documents can be emailed to email@example.com. A party logo cannot be reserved with the Commission before an application is made. However, Commission staff may be able to comment on draft applications if desired by the party.
Intellectual property declaration
A logo application must be accompanied by a statutory declaration made by the applicant stating that the use of the logo by the party will not be an infringement of an intellectual property right of any person or a breach of any enactment.
Information on intellectual property rights and searches can be made using the Intellectual Property Office website www.iponz.govt.nz
There is no requirement that a party has a registered trademark over their proposed logo. Registration of a party logo does not grant any intellectual property rights.
Electronic copies of logo
An application must include two identical electronic copies of the colour logo and a black and white version of the logo in each of the following formats (for use on the ballot paper, official publications, and the elections.nz website):
- high resolution .eps (5cm wide, 350dpi, CMYK)
- high resolution .jpg (5cm wide, 350dpi, RGB)
- low resolution .jpg (300 pixels wide, 72 dpi, RGB)
One of the colour logo copies must be marked up with PMS (Pantone Matching System) codes for the colours, with each element of the logo labelled with its respective PMS code.
Checking the application
The documents and enclosures are checked for compliance with the law and Commission requirements. The party secretary is notified in writing of the acceptability or otherwise of the application within five working days of receipt.
Public comment is sought before the Commission considers the application against statutory criteria.
A party logo must not be:
- likely to cause confusion or mislead electors, or
- contain any reference to a title or an honour or a similar form of identification.
Additionally, a party logo must not infringe any person’s intellectual property rights.
The Commission’s consultation process for logos follows the same process as for party registration applications, see Part 2.
Where the application to register a logo is made with a party registration application consultation on both occurs at the same time.
A period of two calendar weeks is provided for public comment and the applicant will be invited to respond to any comments.
Determining the logo application
The Commission’s Board is responsible for determining the application to register a logo. Matters the Board will consider include:
- a decision to refuse to register the party (because only registered parties can have a registered logo)
- any reasonable cause the Board has to believe the intellectual property declaration is not correct
- whether other registration requirements have been met, and
- responses to the public consultation and any comment from the party (if any).
After the logo application decision
If the party logo registration is approved the Commission will:
- update the Register of Political Parties available at elections.nz
- notify the applicant in writing that the Commission has registered the party logo, and
- give notice of registration in the Gazette.
If the logo application is refused the Commission will notify the party in writing and set out the reasons for the refusal. Notification will be given no later than ten working days after the date of the Board’s decision.
The Commission will also notify any submitters, who commented on the application as part of the public consultation exercise, of the decision.