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23 May - 12:41 pm NZ
Updated at 4:31 pm on 20 October 2011
Parliament has been dissolved, marking the beginning of the formal process in the lead-up to the election.
The dissolution allows the Governor-General, Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, to instruct the Chief Electoral Officer to hold the election on 26 November.
PHOTO: RADIO NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary Philip O'Shea made the proclamation on the steps of Parliament on behalf of Sir Jerry.
The dissolution means all business before the House and select committees has lapsed. A new House created by the election can decide which business will be continued.
Sir Jerry will issue a writ next Wednesday which gives formal direction to the Electoral Commission to hold the election.
The writ marks the day electoral rolls close for printing. Voters enrolled after this date cast special votes, and candidate and party television and radio advertising may start.
While the Government continues to run the country, it has been the practice of successive governments to restrict activities such as significant appointments and advertising campaigns.
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