Nominations open Friday 15 July and close 12 noon on Friday 12 August.
Don’t leave your nomination to the last minute! If there are any issues with your paperwork you’ll need time to fix them before nominations close. We encourage you to submit them as early as possible.
There’s some really important information in the handbook so make sure you get familiar with it. It outlines rules for your campaign, including social media guidelines, signage rules, and how much you can spend.
Make sure you get a copy of the Whanganui District Council pre-election report, which is prepared independently of the mayor and councillors. The report looks at the past three years, and outlines some of the key issues facing the district during the next three years (the next electoral term).
The pre-election report is also a source of information for the wider public. It aims to help voters understand the role of elected members and the work of the council when considering what the important issues are for their community.
To stand for election you must be:
Candidates need to pay a $200 deposit when they submit their nomination form. The deposit is refunded if the candidate polls greater than 25% of the lowest polling successful candidate for each election issue. The deposit is also refunded if no election is required.
The mayor is directly elected by voters. The role of mayor is to provide leadership to the councillors and the community. The mayor leads council’s strategic planning and policy development to set the direction for the organisation and the district.
Being an effective mayor requires strong leadership skills, an understanding of the difference between governance and management, and an ability and willingness to negotiate and compromise. Local government is a complex sector with many challenges and council’s leaders often need to find a balance between big dreams and more practical obligations.
The mayor has some specific powers:
Being the mayor is a varied job that can include long hours and diverse range of duties. The role includes chairing council meetings, meeting with constituents, liaising with council officers, and acting as council’s spokesperson. The role of mayor is generally considered full time and is remunerated as such. In the 2021-2022 financial year, Whanganui’s mayor was paid $141,000.Learn more about how council works
Whanganui elects 12 councillors on an “at large” basis – this means all voters across the district get to vote for 12 representatives each.
Each councillor is one vote around a table of 13 (12 councillors and the Mayor). If you are elected and 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 is a boat – councillors are in charge of steering, while staff get on with rowing. A councillors’ role is to make decisions and to advocate for the community’s interests.
Effective elected members earn the confidence of their community by acting transparently, in line with all relevant laws and regulations, while listening to everyone’s views and expert advice. This helps them make decisions that will lead to a bright future for Whanganui.
The job of a councillor isn’t just sitting in meetings, though that is a big part of it. There’s a lot of information to take on board – be prepared for a lot of reading and workshops with your colleagues to get to grips with the task at hand.
There are lots of decisions to be made, and you need to work hard to stay informed. Talk to staff, your colleagues, and the community. You won’t always agree, but once a decision is made, all councillors have collective responsibility for it.
Councils are responsible for millions of dollars of ratepayers’ assets. Understanding financial documents is key to making informed decisions. There will be training opportunities to help you feel confident in your role. This might mean more reading! But it will help you serve your constituents well.
Councillors receive a salary for their work – the base starts at about $33,000 but can be higher if you take on additional roles, like chairing a committee or leading a portfolio. Hours can vary, whether you’re at formal council meetings, engaging with the public, reading, or meeting with constituents. The job can be as big as you want to make it.
In the 2019-22 triennium, council met every six weeks on Tuesday afternoons. Councillors also met as members of various committees, also on a six weekly basis. Council activities were limited to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the average formal meeting and workshop commitment was 15 hours per week for approximately three weeks of each month. Download a nomination formLearn more about how council works
Whanganui’s community board has a specific mandate to represent our rural community. Members are elected from 3 subdivisions – Kaitoke (2 members), Whanganui (2 members) and Kai Iwi (3 members). Two councillors are also appointed to the community board following the election.
The role of the community board includes:
The community board elects its own chairperson at its first meeting after the election. In 2021-2022 the chairperson was paid $11,392. The salary for a community board member was $5,696.
In the 2019-22 triennium the community board met every six weeks from February to November on a Wednesday afternoon. The board sometimes held workshops to progress projects and develop plans and submissions.Learn more about how council works