FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


General Information

When is the next Waikato District Council election?

Election day is Saturday 8 October 2016 and voting closes at midday on that day. The voting period starts on Friday 16 September 2016.

Who is running the election?

The electoral officer has full responsibility for running the election.

What is the name of the electoral officer?

The electoral officer is:
Dale Ofsoske, Independent Election Services Ltd
Level 2, 198 Federal Street, Auckland
Phone: 0800 922 822
Email: dale.ofsoske@electionservices.co.nz

The deputy electoral officer is:
Rose Gray, Waikato District Council
15 Galileo Street, Ngaruawahia
Phone: 0800 492 452
Email: rose.gray@waidc.govt.nz

What type of electoral system is used?

The FPP (first past the post) electoral system is used for the Waikato District Council, the Waikato Regional Council and the Te Kauwhata Licensing Trust, and the STV (single transferable voting) electoral system is used for the Waikato District Health Board and the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

What issues (elections) can we vote for?

Electors will be able to vote for the Mayor, Ward Councillors, Community Board Members, Waikato Regional Council Members, Te Kauwhata Licensing Trust Members (Te Kauwhata area only) and Waikato District Health Board Members or Counties Manukau District Health Board Members.

What is the role of the Mayor, Councillors and Community Board Members?

The Mayor:

  • presides at Council meetings;
  • attends and participates at meetings of committees and working parties;
  • reads agenda and other materials before meetings;
  • leads the Council and co-ordinates Council political activity;
  • speaks on behalf of the Council;
  • represents the Council on related organisations, where appointed;
  • attends and participates at conferences and seminars;
  • attends to complaints and enquiries from members of the public;
  • presides at civic ceremonies;
  • hosts visiting groups, including overseas delegation
  • attends and speaks at local functions, sometimes opening them;
  • declaring a state of civil defence emergency in the district if the need arises.

Councillors:

  • participate in strategic and long-term planning for the whole district;
  • develop policy across a wide range of activities and services;
  • represent the district at functions as required;
  • review and develop bylaws for the district;
  • advocate on a wide range of issues;
  • coordinate and form partnerships with other spheres of government and other agencies;
  • participate in the appointment and performance review of the Chief Executive;
  • act on all these matters within a legislative and regulatory framework, and setting a budget and rates;
  • monitor the performance of the Council organisation.

Community Board Members:

  • promote residents’ issues and initiatives to the board and the Council;
  • monitor the provision of Council services and advocates changes as necessary;
  • engage in community development activities in conjunction with Council officers;
  • take a proactive stance anticipating strategies and policies that may be needed;
  • represent the community to other agencies;
  • promote the role of the Community Board in the wider community;
  • work cooperatively with the Council.

 


Enrolment

Where can I view the electoral roll that will be used for this election?

The preliminary electoral roll will be available for public  inspection for a one-month period from Friday 15 July 2016 to Friday 12 August 2016.   

 The preliminary electoral roll will be available for inspection at:

  • Council’s Main Office, 15 Galileo Street,Ngaruawahia
  • Huntly Office and Library, 142 Main Street, Huntly
  • Raglan Office and Library, 7 Bow Street, Raglan
  • Tuakau Office, 2 Dominion Road, Tuakau
  • Tuakau Library, 1 Main Road, Te Kauwhata 
How do I enrol to vote in these elections?

Is this your main place of residence?    Yes     

Have you lived at your current address for more than one month?    Yes

Are you on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at an address in the Waikato District Council area?    Yes

You will automatically appear on the electoral roll that is used for these elections.

 or

Is this your main place of residence?    Yes

Are you on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at an address in the Waikato District Council area?   No or Don’t Know

You need to complete an enrolment form for this.  You can either:

Is this your main place of residence?      No

Are you on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at an address in another district?      Yes

If you own a property in this district and it is not your main residence you may be able to enrol as a nonresident ratepayer elector. (Refer to ratepayer enrolment advice in Q22).

I am a student and spend my time in different places. Where should I enrol?

You should enrol where you spend the greater part of your time

I am a New Zealand Maaori; do I need to enrol on the Maaori roll?

Not necessarily.  If you are enrolling for the first time you can decide whether you want to go on the Parliamentary Maaori Electoral Roll or the Parliamentary General Electoral Roll by signing the appropriate panel on the parliamentary elector enrolment form.

However, if you have already made that choice you will have to wait until the next Maaori Option period to change, which occurs following the next census, likely in 2018/19.  The last Maaori Option period was 25 March to 24 July 2013.

How do I know whether I am enrolled?

The Electoral Commission will be undertaking a roll update campaign at the end of June 2016 for the Parliamentary Electoral Roll which forms the basis of the electoral roll for the Waikato District Council elections.

If you do not receive a letter in the post during late June/early July 2016 the chances are you are not enrolled or your details are incorrect. You will then need to complete a Parliamentary Electoral Roll enrolment form.

You can check to see if you are enrolled at www.elections.org.nz or by phoning 0800 36 76 56.

I turn 18 on election day. Can I vote?

Yes, but you need to make sure you have enrolled which you can do provisionally from the age of 17 and it automatically changes when you turn 18.

You will also need to apply for a special vote during the voting period (Friday 16 September 2016 to 12 noon, Saturday 8 October 2016).

For special vote availability, see Q38.

We own a business in the Waikato District Council area and pay rates, but we don’t live in the Waikato District Council area – do we get a say in the Waikato District Council elections?

Yes, subject to being eligible as a non-resident ratepayer elector and becoming enrolled.

A non-resident ratepayer enrolment form is available:

The non-resident ratepayer enrolment form should be returned to the electoral officer by 12 August 2016 and absolutely no later than 7 October 2016 in order to vote.

If it is after Friday 12 August 2016, a special voting document will need to be requested and will be issued on 16 September 2016, the start of the voting period.

I own a property in the Waikato District Council area but it is not my fulltime residence. How do I get on the Ratepayer Electoral Roll

Is your name on the rates notice?  Yes

You may be eligible to be on the ratepayer electoral roll. Contact the electoral office on 0800 922 822 and request a ratepayer enrolment form.  This should be returned to the electoral officer by 12 August 2016 and absolutely no later than 7 October 2016 in order to vote. If it is after Friday 12 August 2016, a special voting document will need to be requested and will be issued on 16 September 2016, the start of the voting period.

If it is easier you can call at a special voting venue during the voting period (Friday 16 September 2016 to 12 noon Saturday 8 October 2016) and complete the ratepayer enrolment form and have your special vote at the same time.

For special vote availability, see Q38.

In no case does this allow you to have two votes at an election.

Is your name on the rates notice?  No

You may not be eligible to be on the ratepayer electoral roll. Contact the electoral office on 0800 922 822.


Election Results

When will we know the results of the election?

Progress results will be announced as soon as practicable after 12 noon on Saturday 8 October 2016 (expected around 2pm).

Preliminary results will be announced late on Saturday night once all votes received at Council offices (up until 12 noon) have been delivered to the electoral office in Auckland and processed.

The official results will be announced when special votes have been checked, expected to be Thursday 13 October 2016.

How will I find out

Candidates

Will be advised as soon as practicable after the progress results and preliminary results are known.  This will be by email.

Voters

Progress and preliminary results will be released to the media and placed on Council’s website

(www.votewaikato.govt.nz) as soon as practicable after noon on Saturday 8 October 2016.  

What do I need to do if I want to challenge the results of the election?

Under legislation a candidate can challenge the declaration of results through either a judicial recount or a judicial inquiry. A candidate will have to provide reasons for the challenge and a deposit of $750 with the application to the Huntly District Court.

A candidate may wish to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822 to discuss this


Members

When do elected members take up their roles?

Elected members take up office the day after the official result has been declared by public notice.  However, members cannot act until they have sworn the oath of office which is usually at the first meeting of the Council or community board.  This first meeting is usually held as soon as practicable after the final election results are known.

District health board members take up office 58 days after election day (Monday 5 December 2016).

Who are elected members responsible to?

Ultimately the elected members final responsibility is to the local community.  The Minister of Local Government and the Auditor–General do have a role in ensuring that Council follows the law.

All district health board members are accountable to the Minister of Health.

Do elected members get paid and if so how much?

This is set by the Remuneration Authority immediately following the 2016 elections. Some expenses are also reimbursed.

District health board members are paid on the basis of the Cabinet Fees framework.

Would being an elected member take up much time?

Being an elected member is a busy job that often involves meetings, events and speaking with community members outside of normal business hours. Flexibility and the ability to prioritise and manage time effectively are essential. This includes balancing a high volume of reading, paperwork and emails with a schedule of meetings and public commitments.

As a consequence, the Mayor and is a fulltime job and Councillors and Community Board Members are generally part time jobs

How many elected members are there?

Elections are being held for:

  • Mayor
  • Councillors – 13 (elected from 10 wards)
  • Community Board Members – 30 (elected from 5 community boards)
  • Waikato Regional Council Members – 2 from the Waikato General Constituency or 1 from the Nga Hau e Wha Maaori Constituency
  • Te Kauwhata Licensing Trust – 6 (Te Kauwhata areaonly)
  • Waikato District Health Board Members – 7 or Counties Manukau District Health Board – 7.

Complaints

I have a complaint about electoral signage

Council’s election signs bylaw is located on the Waikato District Council’s website https://www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/Newsevents/Publicnotices/ProposedPublicPlacesBylaw2015.aspx (currently under review) or www.votewaikato.co.nz

The signs don’t have the required authorisation on them.

You will need to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822.

The signs are bigger than they should be

You will need to call the Council’s Monitoring Team on 0800 492 452

What locations can signs be erected?

Council’s election signs bylaw is located on the Waikato District Councils website

https://www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/Newsevents/Publicnotices/ProposedPublicPlacesBylaw2015.aspx (currently under review) or www.votewaikato.co.nz

When can they be erected and when must they be pulled down?

Election signs can only be displayed during the period commencing two months prior to election day and must be removed before midnight on the day before election day – i.e. from Monday 8 August 2016 until Midnight Friday 7 October 2016.


Candidates

I want to be a candidate in these elections. What do I need to do?

You must be a New Zealand citizen and your name must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll (anywhere in New Zealand).

You will need to have two electors registered in the area of the election you are standing for to nominate you – e.g. if you stand for the Eureka Ward, the nominators will need to be registered within that ward. (Note the candidate does not need to reside in the area in which he/she is standing, but will need to disclose that fact in his/her candidate profile statement).

The nominators must also be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at the address they are listed on the nomination paper (which must be in the area that they are nominating the person for).

Nominations open on Friday 15 July 2016. If you would like a nomination paper and candidate information handbook sent out, please contact the electoral office closer to this date. Nomination papers will also be available on Council’s website (www.waikatodc.govt.nz) from 15 July 2016, with the candidate information booklet available in early 2016.

Candidates are encouraged to attend a candidate information evening to be held in the Waikato District Council Chambers on Tuesday 19 July 2016.

Candidate campaigning can commence any time prior to the election (no time restriction), but any expenditure made, within or outside the three month applicable period before election day, must be accounted for.

How much will it cost me to stand?

You will need to pay a nomination deposit of $200 GST inclusive. This deposit applies to each issue (election) you stand for.

Your nomination deposit can be paid by cash, cheque, EPTPOS or electronic bank transfer. However, if you pay the deposit by cheque and if it is dishonoured after nominations close, your nomination will not be accepted.

If you poll greater than 25% of the lowest polling successful candidate (for FPP elections) or more than 25% of the final quota as determined by the last iteration (for STV elections) you will receive your nomination deposit back.

Your nomination must be received by the close of nominations (12 noon on Friday 12 August 2016).

What qualifications and experience do I need?

Nothing formal. Elected members come from all walks of life and generally have a will/desire to serve the community.

Does a criminal record affect a person standing as a Council candidate?

No, not for the Waikato District Council elections. For the Waikato District Health Board and Counties Manukau District Health Board elections, a criminal record may affect your candidacy.

How long is the term of the elected member?

Three years.

Do I need to be resident in the area I am standing for?

No, but you must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll (anywhere in New Zealand) and be a New Zealand citizen. You will however need to disclose whether or not you reside in the area you are standing for in the candidate profile statement.

The two people who nominate you must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll within the area you are standing for.

How many positions can I stand for?

You can stand for Mayor, a Ward Councillor, a Community Board Member, but if you are elected to more than one position (Mayor, Ward Councillor or Community Board Member) you will take up the highest ranked position.

You can also stand for the:

  • Waikato District Health Board or the Counties Manukau District Health Board (but you cannot stand for more than one district health board in New Zealand);
  • Te Kauwhata Licensing Trust (if a resident of Te Kauwhata).

You cannot stand for both the Waikato District Council and the Waikato Regional Council.

I am a serving police officer. Can I stand for Council and continue to work as a police officer?

Yes, there are no restrictions on police officers standing for local authority elections, apart from the normal eligibility criteria.

How much can I spend on my campaign?

There is a limit on what you can spend on your campaign and it relates to the population of the area you are standing for.

The maximum amount that can be spent by a candidate cannot exceed the limits set out below:

 

Local government area population Expenditure limit
Up to 4,999 $3,500
5,000 – 9,999 $7,000
10,000 – 19,999 $14,000
20,000 – 39,999 $20,000
40,000 – 59,999 $30,000
60,000 – 79,999 $40,000
80,000 – 99,999 $50,000
100,000 – 149,999 $55,000
150,000 – 249,999 $60,000
250,000 – 999,999 $70,000
1,000,000 or more $100,000*

                                                                                                                   * plus 50 cents for each elector

For example, a candidate for the Eureka Ward (which has a population in the range of up to 5,000 – 9,999) can spend up to $7,000 inclusive of GST.

If you stand for more than one position, the amount you can spend is the highest amount for one position.  You cannot add positions together to allow you to spend more than the limit.

All candidates are required to lodge an electoral donations and expenses return within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates are declared to be elected.

If a candidate is outside New Zealand on this day, the return must be filed within 76 days after election result day.

If a return is not submitted within the required time period, the non-return will be advised to the New Zealand Police for enforcement.

The return needs to be received before a candidate nomination deposit is refunded if appropriate.

 


Voting

Is it a postal vote and will I be sent my voting documents in the mail?

All local authority elections will be conducted by postal vote.  Voting documents will be delivered by NZ Post between Friday 16 September 2016 and Wednesday 21 September 2016

I got my voting document but my partner didn’t receive theirs.

Is it before Wednesday 21 September 2016 and I believe I am correctly registered on electoral roll?  Yes

Please wait until the mail has been delivered on Wednesday 21 September 2016.  If your voting document is not received then please call the electoral office on 0800 922 822.

Is it after Wednesday 21 September 2016 and I believe I am correctly registered on electoral roll?  Yes

You will need to apply for a special vote.  Please call the electoral office on 0800 922 822. For special vote availability, see Where can I have a special vote?..

Is it after Wednesday 21 September 2016 and I believe I am not correctly registered on electoral roll?  No

You will need to complete a Parliamentary Electoral Roll enrolment form.  These are available at any New Zealand Post Shop, or you can enrol online at www.elections.org.nz or ring 0800 36 76 56 or send your name and address to Freetext 3676.

You will also need to contact the electoral office for a special vote on 0800 922 822

I didn’t get my voting document so I called and got a special vote. Now I have two voting documents. Which one should I use?

Use the original one and destroy the special vote

I received a voting document for a member of my family (e.g. child, parent) and have Power of Attorney for that person. Can I vote for that person?

No – Power of Attorney does not apply to voting for that person.

I received a voting document for a member of my family (e.g. child, parent) who does not live here. What should I do with the voting document?

If they are overseas, you could fast post them to the person or destroy them if that is not practicable.

If they are for an elderly parent who is incapable of voting please destroy them by ripping/cutting them up. You cannot vote on their behalf unless instructed by them.

I received a voting document that does not belong to me and I don’t know this person or where this person has gone.

Write GNA (Gone No Address) on the envelope and put it back in the mail.

What is that barcode that I can see through the return envelope or on the front of the voting document?

It is a legal requirement to scan the barcode to mark the electoral roll that you have returned your vote so we can ensure that we do not receive two votes from the same person.

How do you ensure the secrecy of my vote?

Returned envelopes containing a voting document cannot be opened until there is a JP present.  The JP is required to sign off that the processes used by the electoral officer met the legal requirements.

Note that the voter’s name is not shown on the voting document.

When the envelope is opened the only thing the electoral office is looking for is that the vote for each election is valid.

This means that for FPP elections we are making sure that the voter’s intention is clear and the voter has not ticked or marked more than the number of candidates than there are vacancies.

For STV elections we make sure that no preference numbers are used more than once or omitted, (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5), and that there is always a number 1 marked against a candidate’s name.  It should be like this:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc., in numerical order up to as many preferences as the voter wishes to vote for.

Do I have to vote? I don’t know any of these candidates.

No you don’t have to vote, but we do encourage you to vote and exercise your democratic right.

You don’t have to vote for all candidates or for all elections.  But your vote is important because the people elected will be responsible for making decisions about what happens in your community for the next three years.

To help you get to know about the candidates:

  • there may be candidate meetings being held if you wish to go and hear what policies the different candidates are advocating for;
  • there is a candidate profile booklet that comes with the voting document in which there is a photo and a statement from each candidate. This information will also be available on the Council’s website(www.votewaikato.govt.nz) after nominations close (expected 19 August 2016);
  • candidates may have their own website page, social media page(s), advertise in local newspapers or send out information to letterboxes in your area;
  • local newspapers are likely to cover information about the election.
Do I have to post my voting document back?

You can post it but make sure you have it in the mail by Wednesday 5 October 2016 to make sure it gets back to us in time (by 12 noon Saturday 8 October 2016

However, you can also hand deliver your voting document to a ballot box during the voting period (Friday 16 September 2016 to 12 noon Saturday 8 October 2016).

For ballot box locations see Where can I have a special vote?.  

I have lost my return envelope

You can use an envelope of your own and put the return address and Freepost number on it. (You will not need to put a stamp on the envelope if you write the Freepost number on the envelope).

Freepost number 4170

The Electoral Office

Waikato District Council

PO Box 5135

Wellesley Street

Auckland 1141

I am on the Unpublished Parliamentary Roll and I want a special vote please.

You will need to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822 for a special vote to be sent

I didn’t receive my voting document; how do I obtain a special vote?

Are you on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll for the address you want to vote for?   Yes

You will need to apply for a special vote.  Please call the electoral office on 0800 922 822 or visit one of the special voting venues listed in Where can I have a special vote?..

Are you on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll for the address you want to vote for?  No/Don’t Know

If you are not enrolled or not enrolled correctly on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll, you will need to complete an enrolment form for this.  You can pick one up at any New Zealand Post Shop, or you can enrol online at www.elections.org.nz or ring 0800 36 76 56 or send your name and address to Freetext 3676. This form needs to be with the Registrar of Electors before close of business Friday 7 October 2016.

 

You will also need to contact the electoral office for a special vote on 0800 922 822.

 

For special vote availability, see Where can I have a special vote?.

I spoiled my voting documents / I have made a mistake on my documents. What can I do?

If you can amend it so that your voting intention is clear, then do so.

If necessary, we can issue you with a special voting document (phone 0800 922 822), but this will take time and require you to complete a declaration.

Where can I have a special vote?

Special votes can be obtained from:

  • Council’s Main Office, 15 Galileo Street,Ngaruawahia
  • Huntly Office and Library, 142 Main Street, Huntly
  • Raglan Office and Library, 7 Bow Street, Raglan
  • Tuakau Office, 2 Dominion Road, Tuakau
  • Tuakau Library, 1 Main Road, Te Kauwhata
  • or by phoning 0800 922 822
I am going away and will not be here when the voting documents are posted out.

You will need to contact the electoral office for a special vote on 0800 922 822

Do I have to vote for all the candidates for any issue? If I don’t vote for all the candidates or all the issues on my voting document, will all my votes be informal?

Under FPP you can vote for as many candidates as you want to but not more than the number of positions available on the voting document.  So if you are electing two Councillors then you can vote for up to two candidates. Remember, for FPP you tick the candidates you want to elect.

With STV you can vote for all or as many candidates as you wish but these must be in order of your preference and no number can be repeated. Remember for STV, you rank the candidates you want to elect from number 1 onwards.

You can decide not to vote for one or more of the different elections on your voting document.  This does not invalidate votes for other elections on your voting document.

Why can’t I vote for a certain candidate who is standing for a different ward, community board or other issue?

You can only vote for the elections relevant to the area in which you live. You cannot vote for a candidate who is standing in another ward or community board because you are not an elector of that other ward or community board.

 

My partner’s paper and mine are different and there are more/less things to vote for. Why is the list of candidates different?

You will need to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822

I have received two voting documents.

You will need to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822

Do all the staff working on the election know who I voted for?

No, your vote remains secret under the required separate roll scrutiny and vote counting procedures and your name does not appear on the voting document

Can I help someone fill out their voting document?

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, you cannot interfere or influence any person as to how they can vote.

If authorised by a voter who is physically impaired, visually impaired or for whom English is a second language, a person can assist them to vote as directed by the voter.  

What happens to all the voting documents after the elections?

They are delivered to the Huntly District Court and kept for 21 days so that the Court can access them should there be any application for a recount or petition for inquiry.

After 21 days, the Court is responsible for destroying them

Do I get a vote for the district health board?

Yes, if you are a resident elector. Ratepayer electors cannot vote for one district health board elections

What is STV and how do I vote in an STV election?

STV is used only for the Waikato and Counties Manukau District Health Board elections.

STV stands for single transferable voting and is a preferential system of voting where you can rank as few or as many candidates as you like.  It is a single vote which can be transferred between candidates to ensure the vote contributes to the election of at least one candidate and is not wasted.  If a popular candidate does not need all the votes he or she receives, a proportion is transferred to the voter’s next preference.  On the other hand, if a candidate is not popular and receives few votes, those votes are transferred to a voter’s next preference.

For more information about STV, go to www.stv.govt.nz. To exercise a STV vote, start by writing the number 1 in the box next to the candidate you most want to be elected.  Write the number 2 next to your second most preferred candidate and so on 3, 4, 5 etc.

You can write as many preferences or as few as you like up to however many candidates are standing for that election.

You must write the number 1 for your vote to be counted.

Do not write the same number more than once, e.g., 1, 2,

3, 3, 4, 5, and do not miss a number from your preferences, e.g., 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

What about FPP?

FPP stands for first past the post voting system and is used for the Waikato District Council, the Te Kauwhata Licensing Trust and the Waikato Regional Council elections.

The candidate or candidates that gets the most votes wins.

You should mark those you want to vote for with a tick in the circle.  Do not vote for more than the number of candidates shown in the instructions.

ward-mapWard Map

If you don’t know what ward you live in or how many Councillors you can vote for, find out using our ward map.

governanceGovernance structure

Not sure how all the different roles of Council fit together? Find out using our governance structure graphic.

communityCommunity boards overview

There are five Community Boards in the Waikato District. Find out where these are located using our Community Board map.