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 members, including DHBs are held once every three years. The next elections will be held in 2019 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.

Information about enrolment at the 2019 Local Elections.

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.

Consultation – Exposure draft of the Local Electoral (Online Voting Trial) Amendment Regulations 2019

Submissions are now CLOSED.

A number of local authorities are investigating trialling an online voting option at the 2019 local elections for all or some of their electors.

The Department of Internal Affairs is working on a proposed regulatory framework to support an online voting trial, should it proceed. The proposed framework prescribes the procedures, safeguards and outcomes that the operation of a voting method must achieve.

We have developed the Local Electoral (Online Voting Trial) Amendment Regulations 2019 as an exposure draft. This provides an opportunity for interested parties to provide feedback to improve the regulations before they are finalised.

The regulations and the supporting information about the regulations and how they fit in with wider changes related to online voting at the 2019 local elections can be viewed here:

Submissions CLOSED on Friday 9 November 2018. Feedback is now being considered. A summary of the submissions be may published at a later date.

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 the Department of Internal Affairs 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. Note that for 2019,
voting closes 12 midday, Saturday 12 October 2019. *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