Lobbying Toolkit

Your guide to councils

Local government elections - October 2019

Local government elections are held once every three years. The next elections will be held on 12 October 2019. This in includes elections of regional councils, city and district councils, community board and local boards, district health boards and licensing trusts.

Go to the Local Government New Zealand website to see council profiles.

Key dates

19 July - Nominations open for candidates.

16 August - Nominates close at 12 noon.

20-25 Sept - Voting documents delivered to households. Postal voting.

12 Oct - Polling day. Voting closes at 12 noon.

Read more


Long Term plans 

TIA made submissions on around 70 council draft Long Term Plans (2018-2028), highlighting the benefits of tourism to communities, and encouraging councils to recognise the value of tourism in their plans. 

See all our long term plan submissions here.


TIA Local Government Manifesto

TIA's 2016 Local Government Manifesto identified eight priority actions for councils to reap greater economic and social rewards from tourism. Use it to lobby your local council for greater recognition for tourism in their planning and decision-making.

Other TIA local government advocacy:

Read our local government submissions.

Read our policy positions. 



There are many different ways people can participate in local government and be involved in council decision-making processes.

These include:

Open council consultations

www.govt.nz's consultation across government page allows both central and local government organisations to post consultations they have open. The listing can be searched by topic to make it easier for people to find out what’s happening in an area of interest, like resource management or long-term planning.

Council planning

Long-term Plan

The Long term plan is a document required under the Local Government Act 2002 that sets out a local authority’s priorities in the medium to long term.

Annual Plan

An annual plan must be prepared by a council annually, and it must be adopted before the commencement of the year in which it operates. Like central government organisations, councils operate on a 1 July - 30 June financial year.

Council funding

Councils raise much of their funding through rates, investments, fees and charges. Central government also provides some funding or subsidies towards particular activities, mainly roading.

List of Councils

See council profiles by name, region and type.

See council contact details


Types of councils

Regional Council

A regional council is one type of local authority. Responsibilities include:

  • Managing the effects of using freshwater, land, air and coastal waters
  • Developing regional policy statements and the issuing of consents
  • Managing rivers, mitigating soil erosion and flood control
  • Regional emergency management and civil defence preparedness
  • Regional land transport planning and contracting passenger services
  • Harbour navigation and safety, oil spills and other marine pollution

Some district and city councils also have the powers of regional councils, these are referred to as unitary authorities.


Territorial Authority (TA)

TAs are either city or district councils. There are no differences in the way that they operate.

Territorial authorities’ responsibilities include:

  • the provision of local infrastructure, including water, sewerage, storm water, roads, environmental safety and health
  • district emergency management and civil defence preparedness
  • building control
  • promotional activities (tourism, events etc)
  • public health inspections and other environmental health matters
  • controlling the effects of land use (including hazardous substances, natural hazards and indigenous biodiversity)
  • noise, and the effects of activities on the surface of lakes and rivers


Relationship with Central Government

Several central government agencies are involved with the development of policy and monitoring of local government. Their roles range from strategic development and policy, regulation and monitoring, to handling complaints about the activities and operation of local government.

The Minister of Local Government is currently Ann Tolley. The Minister is assisted in this role by the Department of Internal Affairs.  

Local Government New Zealand 

Local government New Zealand represents the national interests of councils and leads best practice in the local government sector. We provide advocacy and policy services, business support, advice and training to our members to assist them to build successful communities throughout New Zealand. 


(Source: Some of the information on this page was sourced from the Department of Internal Affairs www.localcouncils.govt.nz