Frequently asked questions

If you've got a question, chances are we have the answer! Take a look around and if you still can't find the answer, please phone the Deputy Electoral Officer on 07 838 6439.

Filter by:

I received a voting document for a member of my family (e.g. child, parent) and have Power of Attorney for that person. Can I vote for that person?

No – Power of Attorney does not apply to voting for that person.

I have received two voting documents.

You will need to call the electoral office on 0800 922 822.

I am a student and spend my time in different places. Where should I enrol?

You should enrol where you spend the greater part of your time.

I didn’t receive my voting document; how do I obtain a special vote?

If you’re on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll for the address you want to vote for then you will need to apply for a special vote.

If you’re not on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll for the address you want to vote for (or you don’t know), then you’ll need to complete an enrolment form for this. You can pick one up at any New Zealand Post agency, or you can enrol online at or ring 0800 36 76 56 or send your name and address to Freetext 3676.

You will need to apply for a special vote.

What are the requirements for election signs?

Election signs are referenced in the Local Electoral Act 2001 and council’s election sign guidelines and District Plan– all of which must be complied with.

All election material, including signs and hoardings, must show an authorisation statement (name and physical address of the candidate or the candidate’s agent). Not to do so is an electoral offence.

Refer to section 113 of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

Council also has specific election sign guidelines.


The maximum period of time during which election hoardings, posters, signs or other similar types of promotion may be displayed is three months before election day i.e. from 12.01 am Friday 18 May 2021 to midnight Tuesday 17 August 2021.  


The maximum permitted face surface area of an election sign ranges between 1.8m2 and 3m2. Specifically:

  • a residential and special character area (two signs per site): 1.8m2
  • the central city (two signs per site): 3m2
  • business zones 1-6 (two signs per site): 3m2.



Signs advertising a candidate standing for election can only be displayed on private property, provided landowner permission is given.

Signs are not permitted on any council property, including road reserve, parks or places controlled by council.

There are a number of billboard signs that have already been granted resource consent. Election signs on these billboards have the same time and owner permission as signs on private property. Candidates will be asked to remove any non-complying or unsafe signs within 24 hours of notification, and if the council is required to remove these, costs will be recovered from the owner of the sign.

Do I have to vote? I don’t know any of these candidates.

No, you don’t have to vote, but we do encourage you to vote and exercise your democratic right.

I want to be a candidate in these elections. What do I need to do?

You must be a New Zealand citizen and your name must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll (anywhere in New Zealand).

When lodging your nomination, you will need to provide proof of your citizenship (passport, birth certificate or certificate of naturalisation).

You will need to have two electors registered in the area of the election you are standing for to nominate you – e.g. if you stand for the East Ward, the nominators will need to be registered within that ward. (Note the candidate does not need to reside in the area in which he/she is standing but will need to disclose that fact in his/her candidate profile statement).

The nominators must also be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at the address they are listed on the nomination paper (which must be in the area that they are nominating the person for).

What type of voting method is used?

The FPP (first past the post) voting system will be used for the Hamilton City Council By-election.

How do I enrol to vote in these elections?

If you’re on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at your current address in the Hamilton City Council area then you’ll automatically appear on the electoral roll that is used for these elections

If you’re not on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at your current address in the Hamilton City Council area (or you’re not sure if you are), you’ll need to complete an enrolment form for this. You can either:

  • enrol online at
  • ring 0800 36 76 56
  • send your name and address to Freetext 3676
  • download a form at
  • pick a form up at your local New Zealand Post agency.

If you own a property in this district and it is not your main residence you may be able to enrol as a non-resident ratepayer elector.

I have lost my return envelope. What do I do now?

You can use an envelope of your own and put the return address and Freepost number on it. (You will not need to put a stamp on the envelope if you write the Freepost number on the envelope and post it in New Zealand).

Freepost number 4710
The Electoral Office
Hamilton City Council
PO Box 5135
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142

When is the Hamilton City Council By-election?

Election day is Wednesday 18 August 2021 with voting closing at 12pm. The voting period starts on Tuesday 27 July 2021.

I didn’t get my voting document, so I called and got a special vote. Now I have two voting documents. Which one should I use?

Use the original one and destroy the special vote.

Can I help someone fill out their voting document?

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, you cannot interfere or influence any person as to how they can vote.

If authorised by a voter who is physically impaired, visually impaired or for whom English is a second language, a person can assist them to vote as directed by the voter.

I received a voting document for a member of my family (e.g. child, parent) who does not live here. What should I do with the voting document?

If they are overseas, you could fast post them to the person or destroy them if that is not practicable.

If they are for an elderly parent who is incapable of voting, please destroy them by ripping/cutting them up. You cannot vote on their behalf unless instructed by them.

Where can I have a special vote?

Special votes can be obtained from:

  • Elections Office, Hamilton City Council, Municipal Building, Garden Place, Hamilton
  • by phoning 0800 922 822.
How will I find out?

Will be contacted as soon as practicable after the progress and preliminary results are known.

Progress and preliminary results will be released to the media and placed on this website as soon as they are known.

When will we know the results of the election?

Preliminary results are estimated to be available by approx. 3pm on election day (18 August) depending on the volume of hand delivered votes received on election day morning. The final results should be available by 5pm on the same day.

I am going away and will not be here when the voting documents are posted out.

You will need to apply for a special vote.

What is that barcode that I can see through the return envelope or on the front of the voting document?

It is a legal requirement to scan the barcode to mark the electoral roll that you have returned your vote so we can ensure that we do not receive two votes from the same person.

I received a voting document that does not belong to me and I don’t know this person or where this person has gone.

Write GNA (Gone No Address) on the envelope and put it back in the mail.

How much will it cost me to stand?

You will need to pay a nomination deposit of $200 GST inclusive. This deposit applies to each election you stand for. Your nomination deposit can be paid by electronic bank transfer, EFTPOS, credit card or cash. Cheques will be accepted but not preferred (should they ‘bounce’). If you poll greater than 25% of the lowest polling successful candidate (for FPP elections) you will receive your nomination deposit back.

Who runs the election?

The electoral officer has full responsibility for running the election.

I am a New Zealand Maaori; do I need to enrol on the Maaori roll?

Not necessarily. If you are enrolling for the first time you can decide whether you want to go on the Parliamentary Maaori Electoral Roll or the Parliamentary General Electoral Roll by signing the appropriate panel on the parliamentary elector enrolment form.

However, if you have already made that choice you will have to wait until the next Maaori Option period to change, which occurs following the next census, likely in 2023.

Do I need to be resident in the area I am standing for?

No, but you must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll (anywhere in New Zealand) and be a New Zealand citizen (by birth or citizenship ceremony). You will however need to disclose whether or not you reside in the area you are standing for in the candidate profile statement. The two people who nominate you must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll within the area you are standing for.

Where can I view the electoral roll that will be used for this election?

The preliminary electoral roll will be available for inspection at:

  • Customer Services, Hamilton City Council, Municipal Building, Garden Place, Hamilton
  • Hamilton City Council’s Central Library, Garden Place, Hamilton
  • Hillcrest Library, 58 Masters Avenue, Hillcrest, Hamilton
  • Chartwell Library, Lynden Court, Queenwood, Hamilton
  • The University of Waikato, Hamilton Campus, Gate 1, Knighton Road, Hamilton
  • Waikato Resource Migrant Centre, 46G Boundary Road, Claudelands, Hamilton
  • Waikato Regional Council, 160 Ward Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton
When do nominations close?

Nominations close at 12pm Tuesday 22 June 2021.

It is strongly recommended that candidates do not leave lodging their nomination until the last day, as to do so may mean having to queue and should there be an error with the nomination, little time to have it corrected.

How do you ensure the secrecy of my vote?

Returned envelopes containing a voting document cannot be opened until there is a JP present. The JP is required to sign off that the processes used by the electoral officer meet the legal requirements. Note that the voter’s name is not shown on the voting document.

When the envelope is opened the only thing the electoral office is looking for is that the vote for each election is valid.

What is the role of the councillors?

Mayor and councillors:

  • participate in strategic and long-term planning for the whole city
  • develop policy across a wide range of activities and services
  • represent the city at functions as required
  • review and develop bylaws for the city
  • advocate on a wide range of issues
  • coordinate and form partnerships with other spheres of government and other agencies
  • participate in the appointment and performance review of the chief executive
  • act on all these matters within a legislative and regulatory framework
Who are councillors responsible to?

Ultimately the Mayor and councillors' final responsibility is to the local community. The Minister of Local Government and the Auditor–General do have a role in ensuring that council follows the law.

What is the name of the electoral officer and deputy electoral officer?

The electoral officer is:
Dale Ofsoske,
Independent Election Services Ltd Level 2, 198 Federal Street, Auckland
Phone: 0800 922 822

The deputy electoral officer is:
Becca Brooke, Governance Manager
Elections Office, Municipal Buildings, Garden Place, Hamilton
Phone: 07 838 6439

How much can I spend on my campaign?

There is a limit on what you can spend on your campaign and it relates to the population of the area you are standing for.

The Hamilton East Ward has a population of 89,300 and the limit for campaign spend is $50,000.

Please note any expenditure made by a candidate for an election campaign is funded by the candidate and is not refundable by the council to the candidate.

All candidates are required to lodge an electoral donations and expenses return within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates are declared to be elected. If a candidate is outside New Zealand on this day, the return must be filed within 76 days after election result day.

If a return is not submitted within the required time period, the non-return will be advised to the New Zealand Police for enforcement.

The return needs to be received before a candidate nomination deposit is refunded if appropriate.

Is it a postal vote and will I be sent my voting documents in the mail?

The elections will be conducted by postal vote. Voting documents will be delivered by NZ Post from Tuesday 27 July.

Do I have to post my voting document back?

You can post it but make sure you have it in the mail by Thursday 12 August 2021 to make sure it gets back to us in time (by 12pm Wednesday 18 August).

However, you can also hand deliver your voting document to a ballot box during the voting period (Tuesday 27 July to 12pm Wednesday 18 August).

I spoiled my voting documents/I have made a mistake on my documents. What can I do?

If you can amend it so that your voting intention is clear, then do so. If necessary, we can issue you with a special voting document, but this will take time and require you to complete a declaration.

I turn 18 on election day. Can I vote?

Yes, but you need to make sure you have enrolled which you can do provisionally from the age of 17 and it automatically changes when you turn 18.

You will also need to apply for a special vote during the voting period.

What happens to all the voting documents after the elections?

They are delivered to the Hamilton District Court and kept for 21 days so that the court can access them should there be any application for a recount or petition for inquiry.

After 21 days, the court is responsible for destroying them.

What qualifications and experience do I need?

Nothing formal. Elected members come from all walks of life and generally have a will/desire to serve the community.

All (or some) of the following capabilities will be useful in the elected member role:

  • quality decision-making
  • political acumen
  • leadership
  • cultural awareness
  • strategic thinking
  • knowledge and understanding of Hamilton City Council and local government
  • communication and engagement
  • relationship building and collaboration.
Do all the staff working on the election know who I voted for?

No, your vote remains secret under the required separate roll scrutiny and vote counting procedures.

How long is the term for this Council?

The general term is three years. Due to this being a by-election, this term is until October 2022.

Does a criminal record affect a person standing as a council candidate?

No, not for the Hamilton City Council elections.

When will the new councillor take up their role?

The new councillor will take up office the day after the official result has been declared by public notice. However, members cannot act until they have sworn the oath of office which is usually at the first meeting of the council. This first meeting is usually held as soon as practicable after the final election results are known.

I am on the Unpublished Parliamentary Roll and I want a special vote please.

You will need to apply for a special vote.