The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Local Elections

Elections of local authority and district health board (DHB) members, are held once every three years. The next elections will be held in 2022 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.

If you are enrolled to vote in parliamentary elections, you can also vote in local authority elections. You can enrol, check or update your details online.

Information about enrolment at the 2019 Local Elections.

Local elections are conducted using the First Past the Post (FPP) or Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral systems. All DHB elections are conducted using STV (Single Transferable Vote).

The Department's role in local elections

Under the law, local authorities are 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 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.

Local election statistics

Local Authority Election Statistics - After each election, the Department of Internal Affairs prepares reports of election statistics for regional councils, territorial authorities (district and city councils), local and community boards, DHBs and licensing trusts. The local authority election statistics can be found by clicking on the links below. Local Authority Election Candidates Report - For three elections from 2001–2007, the Department of Internal Affairs prepared reports based on surveys of those standing for community boards, licensing trusts, district and city councils (including mayoralty), regional councils, and DHBs.

Voting document formats

(Updated September 2022)

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. *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