Are you thinking about standing at the next local government elections, but have questions about how the process works? These frequently asked questions below answer general queries about the process and what is involved.
You must be a New Zealand citizen and be a parliamentary elector.
Other requirements are that:
- You are nominated by two electors in the area you are standing for.
- You or your spouse/partner must not have concerns or interests in contracts over $25,000 with the council.
- If you are subject to a Court Order under section 31 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, you should take legal advice.
- If you are an employee of the council, you must resign before taking up your position as an elected member. The rules of some councils may require you to take leave for campaigning prior to the election.
You do not need to reside in the area (city, district, ward, constituency, community board or local board) that you are standing for.
You do not need any formal qualifications. Elected members come from all walks of life and generally have a desire to serve their community.
You can choose to stand for election for any position in a city council, district council or regional council. You are able to run for mayor, councillor, community board member or local board member.
If you choose to stand for more than one position there are some restrictions and rules:
- You cannot stand for both a city council/district council and a regional council
- Where a council has both an ‘at large’ and wards system of representation, you cannot stand as councillor for both positions
- You cannot stand as councillor for more than one ward or constituency in a council
- You can stand as a member for more than one community board or local board within that council (but if elected to more than one local board, you must have preselected which local board you will take)
- You can stand for councillor and also for member of a community board or local board (but if elected to both positions, you must choose one)
- You can stand for both mayor and councillor
There are a lot of different skills you will need to draw on but the success of local government comes when all voices of a community can be heard and included. Most importantly you need to care about all members of your community and communicate their views even people you don’t agree with! This is called ‘representation’. You also need to be able to think about strategic issues and take both a short and long-term view of the impact your decisions will have. This is called ‘governance’. These two concepts are at the heart of local government.
Finally, you also know to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi to facilitate participation by Māori in local authority decision-making processes.
LGNZ’s Candidate Guide has all the information you need to know if you are thinking about standing. Plus our Guide to Local Government outlines important information about how councils work.
If you are standing ‘at large’, then you are standing for the whole council area rather than from its wards.
If you are standing for a ‘ward’ they are the parts of a council area that have been determined by population and communities of interest. These can be either general wards or Māori wards.
If in a regional council, the term ‘constituency’ is used rather than ‘ward’.
The following councils have resolved to establish Māori wards for the 2022 elections. The Local Government Commission will hear any appeals and make final determinations on the establishment of Māori wards. These will be available from the Commission in April 2022.
• Northland Regional Council
• Far North District Council
• Kaipara District Council
• Whangārei District Council
• Waikato Regional Council
• Hamilton City Council
• Matamata-Piako District
• Ōtorohanga District Council
• Ruapehu District Council
• Taupō District Council
• Waikato District Council
• Waipā District Council
• Taranaki Regional Council
• New Plymouth District Council
• South Taranaki District Council
• Stratford District Council
Bay of Plenty
• Bay of Plenty Regional Council
• Rotorua Lakes Council
• Tauranga City Council
• Whakatāne District Council
Gisborne / Hawkes Bay
• Hawkes Bay Regional Council
• Gisborne District Council
• Hastings District Council
• Wairoa District Council
Manawatū / Whanganui
• Horizons Regional Council
• Horowhenua District Council
• Manawatū District Council
• Palmerston North City Council
• Rangitīkei District Council
• Tararua District Council
• Masterton District Council
• Porirua City Council
• Wellington City Council
• Marlborough District Council
• Nelson City Council
No. To be eligible you must be a New Zealand citizen and your name must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll anywhere in New Zealand.
You will need to be nominated by two electors whose names appear on the Māori electoral roll within the area of election for which you are standing.
Equally if you are on the Māori roll you can stand in a General ward, and will need to be nominated by two electors whose names appear on the General electoral roll within the area of election for which you are standing.
This varies between councils and between roles within a council. Ask your local electoral officer about whether the role you want to stand for is full-time or part-time.
Pay and allowances are determined by the Government’s Remuneration Authority. The pay rates vary according to population size and other factors. You can see all the councils remuneration schedules by clicking on this link to the Local Government Members (2021/22) Determination.
More information about how the Remuneration Authority determines pay can be found here.
You need two people to nominate you.
A nominator must be on the electoral roll for the area (city, district, constituency, community board or local board) for which you are standing, e.g. if you are standing for election to a specific ward, you must be nominated by two electors from that ward who are also on the electoral roll for that ward. You are not able to nominate yourself.
Contact your council’s electoral officer for a nomination form. Your nominators must fill it in. You must agree to being nominated and will also need to sign the form.
You will be able to obtain your nomination form from 15 July 2022.
Yes, if you belong to a political party or other group you may want to identify with them. However, you don’t have to have any affiliations. If this is your situation, you can identify as, ‘independent’ or leave the space blank when you fill out your nomination form.
If you do have a specific affiliation, the electoral officer may require a letter of consent from the party, organisation or group giving its consent for you to use the affiliation.
Nominations open on Friday 15 July and close on Friday 12 August 2022 at midday. Nominations must be lodged with the electoral officer at the council you are standing for.
Do not leave lodgement until the last day because if there are any problems with the details provided there might be insufficient time to resolve them and you could miss out.
You may provide a candidate profile statement when you lodge your nomination. This is a statement of up to 150 words containing information about yourself and you policies and intentions if elected to office. The profile statement will be included in the voting documents that all electors receive.
If your candidate statement is submitted in Māori and English, the information contained in each language must be substantially consistent with the information contained in the other language. Each language has to be within a 150 word limit.
Your profile statement must be true and accurate. The Electoral Officer is not required to verify or investigate any information included in your statement.
Your profile can include a recent passport size photograph.
In addition, your candidate profile statement must state whether or not your principal place of residence is in the area you are seeking election, e.g. ‘My principal place of residence is in the Lambton Ward’, or ‘My principal place of residence is not in the Lambton Ward’. This is not part of the 150-word limit.
See section 61 of the Local Electoral Act 2001 for more information.
Yes, and it is very important to talk to your local electoral officer to find out what the rules are in your local area. The rules are about things such as not going over budget on advertising and keeping track of all your expenses, as you will need to submit them after the completion of the campaign if you are successful. There are also rules that apply to signage, such as where and when signs can be erected. There are limits to the amount of money candidates can spend on their election campaigns, which includes donations and joint campaigning. Talk to your local electoral officer to learn more.