Welcome to the SOLGM guide to local body elections

On this page, you can find key information and resources to provide you with a brief overview of local body elections in New Zealand, including important dates, links and more. By participating in your local council elections, you can vote on important topics and candidates that could impact you and your family.

If your question is not covered by this FAQ please contact your local council and ask to speak with the councils electoral officer. Find your councils contact details.

Key facts about Local Body Elections:

When are the next Local Body Elections being held?

The next Local Body Elections are being held on 12 October 2019.

How do I vote?


Voting in Local Body Elections takes place by postal voting. If you are registered on the New Zealand Electoral Roll, voting papers will be sent to your registered address by 25 September 2019.

What is the difference between First Past the Post (FFP) and Single Transferable Vote (STV)?

To learn more about the differences between First Past the Post (FFP) and Single Transferable Vote (STV) and how they affect voting in local body elections please refer to the Department of Internal Affairs website.

How do I cast a special vote?


If you qualify to do so you can apply for a special vote by contacting the Electoral Officer at your local council. Special votes are available during the three-week voting period where electors:

  • names do not appear on the final electoral roll, but who qualify
  • did not receive a voting document
  • spoil or damage a voting document previously posted to them
  • names appear on the unpublished electoral roll.

Anyone casting a special vote is legally required to complete a statutory declaration to ensuring that each person only casts votes once.

Do you live in one area and pay rates in another?

Then you may qualify to vote in both areas at the local authority elections this October.

But you must have applied to be on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll by 16 August 2019 to receive a postal voting document. After this date you can still enrol and will need to cast a 'special vote'. 

Frequently asked questions about the Ratepayer Electoral Roll:

What is the Ratepayer Electoral Roll?


The Ratepayer Electoral Roll is an electoral roll that records voters who pay rates on a property in a territorial authority or unitary authority (city or district council) outside of the area they usually live, or in a different local board or community board within the same territorial authority, to vote as a non-resident ratepayer elector for  that district or board.

For example, if you have a beach house, holiday home, business or whanau land in Wellington but normally live in Napier.

Please note that you may enrol, but you do not have to.  

How do I register?


If you think you, or someone you know, might be eligible for the ratepayer electoral roll, you will need to obtain an Enrolment Form for Ratepayer Electors from the council where you pay your rates e.g. if you live in Southland and own a holiday home in Blenheim then you need to contact the Marlborough District Council for an enrolment form.

When do I need to register by?


To be recorded on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll you must submit your enrolment form with the Electoral Officer at the council where you wish to register for the roll before August 2019. All registered voters who enrolled before this date will appear on the final Ratepayer Electoral Roll and be sent voting papers in the mail.

My siblings and I own jointly our parents property can we all be listed on Ratepayer Electoral Roll?


No. Only one ratepayer elector can be nominated per property irrespective of the number of properties owned by the individual, company, society, trust, partnership or other organisation.

For example if you and your siblings own a property only one of you can vote as the entitlement is from paying rates on a property not as an individual living in the area.

Can our company, trust, corporation or society that pay rates on a property be listed on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll?


No. Only one ratepayer elector can be nominated per property irrespective of the number of properties owned by the individual, company, society, trust, partnership or other organisation e.g. the authorised officer or largest shareholder.

There may be internal rules which dictate who may be listed as the eligible voter, if not, it is best to talk to your fellow owners and agree upon who can vote and seek further advice from your local council electoral officer.

I own more than one property within the same council boundary – can I be included on the ratepayer roll so I can vote in both wards?

No. You are only eligible for the ratepayer roll for other territorial authorities where you pay rates not for different wards within the same council.

For example, you may own the apartment you live on in Auckland’s Queen Street and pay rates for the home you own in the Rodney Ward. In this case you are not eligible for inclusion on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll. However, you may register as a ratepayer elector, for the Rodney Local Board, but not for the ward councillor nor to cast a second vote or the mayoralty. 

I own more than one property in the same district, but I pay rates to different regional councils. Can I be included on the ratepayer roll to vote for the regional council where I own property but do not reside.?

Yes, you are eligible to enrol on the ratepayer roll for the regional council only.

For Example if you live in Dannevirke and also own property within Tararua district, but within the area of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, you may register, through Tararua District Council, as a residential elector in Dannevirke and a ratepayer elector for the Greater Wellington Regional Council only for the property within Tararua District falling under Greater Wellington.

Why does this exist? Isn’t it giving those who can afford to own more than one property two votes?


The Ratepayer Electoral Roll allows people who own one home but live in another to vote for the council or local community/local board where their rates are paid. Situations that is applicable to include having to move town to secure work but keeping a home, owning a holiday home, or owning a property where you plan to retire outside of the region where you currently live. It allows property owners to have a say in how the community is shaped and what the area will be like in the future.

What happens if I don’t register by August 2019? Does that mean I can’t vote as a member of the Ratepayer Electoral Roll?

No, if you don’t register in time you can still cast a vote as a ratepayer elector, but it needs to be cast as a Special Vote. This means you need to request special voting papers and make a statutory declaration. After the election closes Special Votes are counted last as additional checks need to be performed to make sure the vote cast is a legal one. 

I think I was on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll in 2013 but wasn’t in 2016. I am eligible to be on the roll again this year - do I need to do anything?


Yes. You need to contact the electoral officer for the council where you own property and request to be added to the Ratepayer Electoral Roll.

I want to be added to the Ratepayer Electoral Roll but have discovered someone else I own the property with is already listed. How do I get them taken off and me put on?


If the ratepayer is a trust, or company, there may be internal rules that dictates who can be listed as the eligible voter. If not, it is best to talk to your fellow owners and agree who can vote and seek further advice from your local council electoral officer.

I am on the unpublished roll and want to be registered as a non-resident ratepayer but for my details to remain unpublished. Is this possible and is there anything special I need to know?


Yes, you are able to register as an unpublished ratepayer voter. As your details are not published and provided to Electoral Officers this means you need to contact the Electoral Officer at the council where you are eligible to vote as a ratepayer elector vote and apply for Special Vote using the same process as you would to vote in your residential electorate.

I live overseas - can I still be listed on the non-resident ratepayer roll?

Yes, as long as you continue to qualify as a residential and parliamentary elector.

Am I enrolled to vote?

To check if you are enrolled to vote please check elections.org.nz