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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Local Elections

Elections of local authority members, including DHBs are held once every three years. The next elections will be held in 2016 for city and district councils, regional councils and DHBs. In some parts of New Zealand elections will also be held for local and community boards, licensing trusts and some other organisations. All elections are currently held by postal voting. Most elections are conducted using the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system. However, some, including all DHB elections, will be conducted using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system.

Scoping of online voting

Local election statistics

Local Authority Election Statistics - reports of election statistics for regional councils, territorial authorities (district and city councils), local and community boards, DHBs and licensing trusts, prepared by Local Government Operations and Research Services of the Department of Internal Affairs.

See also PDF versions of print publications for the following years' local elections: Local Authority Election Candidates Report - covering the results of a survey of local authority election candidates, prepared by Research Services of the Department of Internal Affairs. The survey includes those standing for community boards, licensing trusts, district and city councils (including mayoralty), regional councils, and DHBs.

The Department's role in local elections

Under the law, local government is responsible for local electoral issues such as:
  • the system of voting used by councils
  • the appointment of electoral officials
  • the conduct of local elections and polls including the option of contracting companies to process and count votes.
Central government’s role is largely one of oversight and information, and responding to suggestions for improvement in the legal basis of the system.

The Department of Internal Affairs has a number of particular roles in local authority and district health board (DHB) elections. In summary, the Department:
  • administers the relevant legislation
  • approves voting document formats
  • supports local authorities by supplying an independently certified vote-counting computer programme for STV elections
  • participates in the analysis of election results and recommends improvements where appropriate
  • in conjunction with other bodies, provides information and responds to queries relating to local elections.

Voting document formats

Section 77 of the Local Electoral Act 2001 provides that a voting document may not be used at an election or poll unless it is consistent with at least one of the general formats that have been approved by the Secretary for Local Government. The formats approved by the Secretary for Local Government may be found by clicking on the links below. The voting document format approved for the 2016 local authority elections, as shown in the document link, applies for the 2016 local authority elections and any future local elections and polls, unless replaced. Note that for 2016,
voting closes 12 midday, Saturday 8 October 2016. The warning of offences that may be committed in respect of voting documents was revised as a result of changes in the Local Electoral Amendment Act 2013: *This document is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.

Further Information