Local Elections

Local elections are held once every three years. The elections are for city and district councils, regional councils and District Health Boards. In some parts of New Zealand, elections will also be held for local and community boards, licensing trusts and some other organisations. The Electoral Commission does not run these elections, but is responsible for voter enrolment.

All local elections are held by postal vote. Voting papers are posted to all voters who are enrolled about a month before voting starts. You must be enrolled to vote in local elections.

Only people who are correctly enrolled will receive their voting papers in the mail. Enrol, check and update your details here. You can find out more about enrolling to vote here.

Who can vote in the local elections?

Anyone who is correctly enrolled can vote in the local elections where they live.

Also, voters who own property within a local council area, but who usually live outside this, can apply to go on the ratepayer roll. They will then be able to vote in the area where they pay rates, and the area where they live.

To go on the ratepayer roll, you need to apply to the electoral officer for the local council area in which you own property but do not usually live. The electoral officer will send you out a form to complete, sign and return so they can check your eligibility.

If you are registered on the unpublished roll, you will need to apply to the electoral officer at your local council to receive your voting papers.

Overseas voters can take part, but must ensure that they are correctly enrolled with an overseas postal address in order to receive their voting papers. Voting papers for local elections cannot be downloaded.

Who runs the local elections?

There are a number of organisations involved in delivering local elections. Most of the work is done by local councils themselves.

Other relevant organisations include:

The Department of Internal Affairs
The Local Government Commission
Local Government New Zealand
Ministry of Health

The Electoral Commission’s role in the 2016 local elections is to ensure that the electoral roll is up to date and provided to each local council.

Last updated: 25 July 2016