Election 2019

​​​​The next local authority triennial election will be held on Saturday, 12 October 2019.

Elections will be held for the Mayor, elected members (Councillors) and election of members for the Wanganui Rural Community Board. More information here.

How do you vote?

Local elections are run as a postal vote. You should get your voting forms in your letterbox between 20-25 September 2019.

Why run for election?

Love Whanganui?

Show your pride by standing for the Council in 2019. We need people from all walks of life to help shape the future of our city.

Candidate nominations open on 19 July 2019.

Who can stand?

You can stand for Whanganui District Council if you are:

• a New Zealand citizen

• aged over 18

• enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll

Check you are enrolled to vote with the Electoral Commission, or ring 0800 54 8683.

Nominations open on 19 July and close on 16 August 2019.

Information on standing for the Council in 2019

Deciding to play a significant role in your local community by running for local government is a big decision.

The videos that follow will give you an insight in to what you can expect in each of the various roles you might choose to put yourself forward for in the 2019 Elections. You’ll be hearing from real people - with real experience.

At the beginning of each video, we let you know what you can expect to learn about by the end of the video. Please feel free to watch the videos all at once or one at a time (total viewing time of 55 mins). We find it is best to view the videos on the latest version of Chrome to avoid any technical issues.

You can also find more detailed information for candidates here.

We hope these videos help you decide if being an elected member is for you, and if so, what role would suit you best.  If you decide to run in the upcoming elections, we wish you the very best of luck.

A welcome from Whanganui District Council 

Purpose: Receive a welcome to the role by Whanganui District Council

Standing for local government


Purpose: To introduce you to the elected member roles available to you, including a description of what elected members do.  25 minutes

By the end of this video you will be able to:

  • Clarify the value of the elected member role and what can be achieved
  • Describe the three types of local authority, and the roles within each
  • Consider what elected members actually do. 

What do you need to be an elected member


Purpose: To help you think about what skills you will need to have and behaviours you will need to display as an elected member and what sort of support will be available to help. 
6 mins                                                                                      

By the end of this video you will be able to:

Review the important skills needed to be an elected member and what behaviours you will need to display

Clarify the value of diversity around the council table

Think about what sort of things you might like to learn more about.

How councils work


Purpose: To help you find out about how councils work and are funded.   
16 mins

By the end of this video you will be able to:

  • Describe how councils operate and are funded

  • Explain how councils make decisions

  • Find out about elected members' pay.

Nomination requirements


Purpose: To help you understand the next steps to take, if you have decided to stand for local government. 3 mins

By the end of this video you will be able to:

  • Explain how the electoral process works

  • Complete the local government nomination requirements

  • Think about the types of campaigning methods that will work for you.

Your first days as an elected member


Purpose: To give you an idea of what to expect if you are successfully elected.                       5 mins

By the end of this video you will be able to:

  • Describe what happens in the first month after the election if you are elected

  • Get important dates into your diary so that you are available for those essential first meetings.

Who can run?

To run for council or community board, you need to be:

  •  a New Zealand citizen,

  • aged 18 years or older, and

  • enrolled on the electoral roll.

You don't need any special experience or education to be a candidate. Elected members come from all walks of life, representing the diversity of our city.

A successful elected member brings a range of skills to their work, including strategic thinking, financial nous, effective engagement, and relationship building.

How can I be nominated?

  •  Nominations open 19 July 2019, when you can pick up a nomination pack from Customer Services at 101 Guyton Street.

  •  Two people need to nominate you. These people must be aged 18 years or older and enrolled to vote in the area you wish to stand in.

  •  Submit your nomination form before 16 August 2019, with a deposit of $200.00

How can I be a good candidate?

If you’re planning to run, we recommend you learn more about council and the work of an elected member. Find out what the key issues are for your local community, and learn more about what Whanganui District Council does.

Attend a meeting  to see what is involved or watch these meetings online. Check out our libraries, parks or museums. Even the public toilets! The Council affects many parts of our residents’ daily lives, and it’s important to understand what matters to voters.

How do I get votes?

A lot of people don’t vote because they don’t know enough about the candidates and what they stand for. To be successful, you need to let residents know your views on issues in our community and encourage them to support you.

  • Try using social media – it’s easy to use, often free, and can reach a lot of people.

  • Meet voters by door knocking, speaking at public meetings and attending community events.

  • Make contact with the local press.

  • Advertise your views in newspapers or on street signs.

There are rules about campaigning, including spending limits and the elections signs you can use.

For full details, check the Local Electoral Act 2001.

What happens if I win?

You will be provided with all the information you need about your role as an elected member.

Learn more

For more information, email the Electoral Officer at elections@whanganui.govt.nz 

How does the Council work?

The Council

Whanganui District Council consists of a mayor and 12 councillors. They lead the strategic decision making for the district. Read more about our Leading Edge Strategy.

As a councillor, you'll be one vote around a table of 13. If you want to make things happen, you'll need to take your colleagues on the journey with you.

A councillor's role is governance—setting the strategic direction and tasking the chief executive to make it happen.  Imagine the Council as a ship—councillors are in charge of steering, while staff get on with rowing.


The Council can establish committees to enable effective decision-making. At the close of 2016-19 triennium, Whanganui District Council has the following committees:

  • Strategy and Finance

  • Property and Community

  • Infrastructure

  • Audit and Risk

Having committees gives the opportunity for more in-depth discussion of certain issues and decisions. The Council can choose to delegate certain decision making powers to its committees to free up its time for strategic issues.

Whanganui Rural Community board

The Whanganui Rural Community Board represent the interests of our rural residents.

The board elects its own chairperson and deputy chairperson.

Under law, the community board's role is to:

  • Represent and act as an advocate for the interest of the community.

  • Consider and report on all matters referred to it by the Council, or any matter of interest or concern to the community.

  • Maintain an overview of services provided by the Council within the community.

  • Prepare an annual submission to both the Regional and District Councils for expenditure and levels of service within the community.

  • Prepare submissions on central government legislation where there are implications for the rural community.

  • Communicate with community organisations and special interest groups within the community.

  • Exercise delegated authority to determine rural road closure applications.

  • Undertake any other responsibilities that are delegated to it by the Council.

The board has adopted its own Strategic Plan, Rural Directions. This document:

  • Sets out a vision for Whanganui's rural community
  • Sets out a mission for the Board
  • Sets out six focus areas that will drive the Board's projects

Roles, responsibilities and remuneration

Salaries for elected members are set by the independent Remuneration Authority and varies according to the size the community you represent. Remuneration figures will change after a review in mid-2019.


The Mayor leads the Council and the Whanganui District. This is considered a full time role, and is a very big commitment, both professionally and personally. You can expect to work after hours and sometimes on weekends.

The Mayor provides political leadership to the Council, chairs Council's meetings, appoints the deputy mayor, and establishes the committee structure. As a community leader, the Mayor is a 'champion' for Whanganui and its interests, representing the district nationally and internationally. Getting to know the community and its concerns are key as the Mayor helps to shape those views into the policy direction and strategic direction for the Council. 

Annual remuneration

In the 2018-19 financial year, the mayor of Whanganui District's salary was $122,870. The Mayor is also able to claim a travel allowance.


As a councillor you can work anywhere between 20 and 60 hours each week, including evenings and weekends. There will be meetings, hearings, and workshops to attend, to educate you on issues and the community's views, and to allow you to make decisions. There are also a lot of documents to read to ensure you are fully informed. You are strongly encouraged to further engage with constituents by attending events and forming relationships with community groups.

Annual remuneration

In the 2018-19 financial year, Whanganui District councillors' base salary was $33,531. The salary can be higher if you take on additional duties, such as deputy mayor or chair of a committee. Councillors are also eligible for travel time and mileage allowances.

Community board members

The Whanganui Rural Community Board represents the interests of residents living in rural areas of the district. Members advocate to council for residents' concerns. The board can initiate community development activities with the support of Council staff. You can run for election to the board, and the board elects its own chairperson.

A community board member may be invited to attend Council or committee meetings with speaking rights, to provide their board's views to Councillors. Community board members are also invited to attend all Council workshops.

Annual remuneration

In the 2018-19 financial year, a Whanganui Rural Community Board member's salary was $5,502. The chairperson's salary was 11,004.

Election Signage

Whanganui District Council has implemented a policy outlining rules for signs in the district. This is to ensure that signs do not have a negative impact.

Here is a summary of the rules for Election 2019.

What counts as an election sign?

Any sign that encourages people to vote for a candidate in the local government elections.

Election signs must:

  • clearly display the name and contact details of the person responsible for displaying the sign;

  • not exceed 2.4 metres in height;

  • not exceed a display area of 3 metres squared

Election signs can only be put up 2 months before Election Day (12 October 2019), and you'll need to take it down the night before Election Day.

There are also rules for the writing on your sign:

  • the letter must be more than 120 mm in height if the sign is on any road, or in a place visible from a road, that has a speed limit of less than 70 km per hour

  • if the sign is on a road, or in a place visible from a road, that has a speed limit of 70 km per hour or more, the letters must be 160 mm in height

Be safe. Your sign can't be a distraction to drivers – if it is on a road or in a place visible from a road it cannot have any reflective material, lighting, or moving parts. It also cannot look like a traffic sign.

If your sign is on a trailer, there are some slightly different rules. It can't overhang the base of your trailer. Your trailer needs to be legally parked, and at least 40 metres away from any intersection.

If you want to put your sign on private land, make sure you have the permission of the landowner. Click here to learn where you can place your signs on the Council's community signage areas. You need a permit if it's on Council land. Click here to get an application form.

If you have any further questions about election signage, email elections@whanganui.govt.nz   

Page reviewed: 29 May 2019 4:10pm