Representation review pānui 3

In this pānui:
- Local Electoral Act 2001 amendments now incorporated
- Preparing for the initial proposal
- Considerations for Māori wards/constituencies
- What we need from you
28 Sep 2023

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to our latest pānui. This update covers:

  • Local Electoral Act 2001 amendments - now incorporated in the Act online
  • Preparing for the initial proposal
  • Considerations for Māori wards/constituencies
  • What we need from you

Local Electoral Act 2001 Amendments - Now Incorporated in the Act Online

The Local Electoral Act 2001 (the LEA) online now includes the recent amendments made through the Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2023. These are currently in force. Amendments not currently in force will be incorporated into the Act as they come into force. None of the latter relate to representation reviews.

Local Electoral Act 2002 (NZ Legislation website)

Preparing for the Initial Proposal

Initial representation proposals must be resolved between 20 December 2023 and 31 July 2024. This differs from the previous period of 1 March to 31 August.

A number of matters must be specifically resolved by councils in an initial representation proposal - the resolution will be a long one. For territorial authorities, these matters are set out in section 19H, and for regional councils in section 19I. Territorial unitary authorities must also consider the specific matters relating to community boards set out in section 19J.

Local Electoral Act 2002 (NZ Legislation website)

Over previous representation review cycles we have also identified recommended practices and legislation requirements that a few councils have missed. If your council's representation proposal comes to the Commission for determination, the Commission will want to see evidence of the following:

    • Preliminary engagement with your communities to ensure good information about the communities of interest in your district and matters relating to fair and effective representation - see chapter 2 of our Representation Review Guidelines 2023.
    • If your council wants community input on multiple representation options, preliminary consultation is the time to seek this.
    • Council reports on initial proposals should contain evidence and/or reasons for each aspect of the proposal being decided.
    • All proposed wards must be named appropriately and ideally, uniquely (Guidelines, chapter 8). Consider engaging early with mana whenua about the naming of any proposed Māori wards/constituencies.
    • Initial representation proposals must specify the number of members to be elected or appointed to community boards (Guidelines, chapter 6). If members are to be appointed, the initial representation proposal must reflect this. Members may only be appointed from wards that cover the area in which the community board is located and can be from a Māori ward, a general ward, or a combination.
    • Accurate population statistics must be used. Stats NZ will release updated 2023 estimates in October, and we will let you know as soon as they are available. You must use the same statistical data throughout the representation review process.

If you have a timeline for your council's representation review, please send us a copy to help with our planning.

Guidelines: Representation reviews - 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Considerations for Māori Wards/Constituencies

Potential options for Māori wards/constituencies must be based on Māori and General electoral population data, often referred to as MEP and GEP. These figures are different to Māori and General electoral roll numbers. Electoral roll numbers are not relevant to the representation review process and should not be used when considering options for Māori and general wards.

If your council is considering a mixed ward/at-large system, where some members are elected from geographic wards and others are elected at large from across the district, the number of members to be elected from Māori wards is calculated only using the total number of members to be elected from wards. The number of members to be elected at large is excluded from this calculation - see our Guidelines 2023, chapter 4.

Guidelines: Representation reviews - 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Māori Electoral Option

Now is a good time to check that any of your consultation material relating to Māori wards/constituencies reflects recent changes to the Māori Electoral Option. These changes mean that after the General Election 2023, electors of Māori descent will be able to move from the General Roll to the Māori Roll or vice versa at any time up until 10 July 2025. The Electoral Commission has more information relating to the Māori Electoral Option.

What is the Māori Electoral Option? (Electoral Commission website)

What We Need From You

If you haven't already, please email us at with the following:

    • Your council's proposed representation review timeline
    • Contact details for your council's Māori stakeholder entities (refer to our pānui 2)
    • Council reports and resolutions on your council's electoral system
    • Council reports and resolutions on whether to establish Māori wards/constituencies.

Many thanks to councils who have already provided the above.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the Commission team by emailing

Ngā mihi,

The Local Government Commission Team

The information contained in these updates is intended to support well-informed council decisions and good practice throughout the representation review process.  Specific representation arrangements are decisions for each council.  The information is provided by Commission officials and does not reflect a particular view or preference of the Commission for any specific representation arrangement.  Where representation is determined by the Commission, each determination is considered on its merits taking into account the information available to the Commission.