Representation review pānui 1

In this pānui:

- The passing of the Local Government Electoral Legislation Act (the Act)
- What the Act means for councils carrying out representation review ahead of the 2025 local election
29 Aug 2023

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to the first of a series of regular pānui from the Local Government Commission regarding local government representation matters and the upcoming representation review process that many councils will be carrying out ahead of the 2025 local election. This update covers:

  • The passing of the Local Government Electoral Legislation Act (the Act)
  • What the Act means for councils carrying out representation review ahead of the 2025 local election

The Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2022

The Act passed its third reading on 24 August 2023. We expect it will receive royal assent in the coming week. We will send a link to the updated Local Electoral Act in a future pānui, once all amendments have been incorporated.

The Act has changed the dates by which councils are required to have completed steps relating to the representation review process. To assist councils who are currently planning for representation review, this pānui focuses on the amendments that are directly relevant to the representation review process, including changes relating to the electoral system and the establishment of Māori wards/constituencies. There are other amendments in the Act that are not related to the representation review process, which are briefly noted below.

The Commission's representation review guidelines were published earlier this year on the understanding that the Act would come into force. They have now been updated to indicate that the Act has been passed.

Electoral System Resolutions and Polls

What has stayed the same?

Local Authorities may resolve to change electoral systems ahead of the 2025 local election. The Act has not changed this provision. Any local authorities wishing to change electoral systems for the 2025 local election must resolve to do so by 12 September 2023.

What has changed?

The Act has changed the dates for receiving a valid demand for a poll or resolving to hold a poll, and the dates by which polls must be held. For a change in electoral system to take effect for the 2025 local election:

  • A valid demand for a poll must be received or a local authority resolution to hold a poll must be passed by 11 December 2023 (previously 21 February 2024)
  • The poll must be held by 14 March 2024 (previously 21 May 2024)

If a valid demand for a poll is received or a resolution to hold a poll is passed after 11 December 2023, a poll may still take place after 14 March 2024, but the results of the poll will not take effect until the 2028 local election.

If your council has already given public notice of the right to demand a poll on the electoral system, you will need to provide a further public notice with these amended dates.

Resolutions to establish Māori Wards or Māori Constituencies

What has stayed the same?

Local authorities may resolve to establish one or more Māori wards or Māori constituencies. The Act has not changed this provision for the 2025 local election. Any council considering establishing Māori wards or Māori constituencies for the 2025 local election must resolve to do so by 23 November 2023. We will send out more information regarding Māori representation in our next pānui.

What has changed?

New provisions relating to the establishment of Māori wards and Māori constituencies will take effect after the 2025 local election. The new provisions mean that some councils will be required to consider whether to establish specific Māori representation ahead of the 2028 local election.

Representation Review - Changes to Timelines

What has stayed the same?

The representation review process remains the same - there are a number of steps in the process that each council carrying out a review must complete. These individual steps will be the subject of future pānui from us.

What has changed?

The timeframes for each of the steps councils must carry out as part of the representation review have changed. Councils generally have longer time periods to complete certain steps, however almost all steps are now required to be completed at an earlier date.

If your council has already set an internal timeline for your representation review, please carefully check to ensure that it meet the amended timeline below.

The amended timeline is:

  • The earliest date for resolving an initial proposal is 20 December 2023 (previously 1 March 2024)
  • The latest date for resolving an initial proposal is 31 July 2024 (previously 31 August 2024)
  • Public notice of an initial proposal is required within 14 days of the resolution, but not later than 8 August 2024 (previously 8 September 2024).
  • The latest date for public notice of the final proposal is within 8 weeks of the submissions period closing (previously 6 weeks)
  • The latest date for the appeals/objections period is 3 December 2024 (previously 20 December 2024)
  • The latest date for forwarding appeals and objections to the Commission is 20 December 2024 (previously 15 January 2025)
  • The latest for the Commission to make determinations remains 10 April 2025

Auckland Council - Specific Changes

The Act has made changes that specifically relate to the Auckland Council representation arrangements. These are:

  • The Governing Body must now be made up of the Mayor and no fewer than 5 and no more than 29 members (previously there was a limit of 20 members for the Governing Body)
  • Some limited changes to local board boundaries are now permitted as part of a representation review process (previously a reorganisation process would have been required to change local board boundaries)
  • The process for making more substantive changes to local board boundaries through the reorganisation process has been streamlined

Other Amendments

The Act has also made the following changes:

  • Candidates for local elections can now submit electronic nominations
  • Processes for tied elections have been updated
  • Members attending meetings by audio-visual link may now be counted towards meeting quorum (subject to councils amending their standing orders to do so)

Any Questions?

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

We are sending this email primarily to local authority officers and others we believe are responsible for representation and related issues. If you are not the appropriate person in your organisation to receive this information, or if others in the organisation should also receive it, please let us know.

If you would like more information once you've read this or otherwise have any questions, please get in touch - we're happy to help. Please email or contact one of the team directly.


Ngā mihi

The Local Government Commission Team