Frequently asked questions

I’ve got my papers, what do I do now?

  1. Think about who will best represent you and your whānau. And if you are not sure who to vote for, research the candidates:
    - Reach out of them - check their contact details here.
    - Check out their Facebook and social media pages. Some even have websites!
    - Head to Policy NZ and compare the candidates and see what each of them stand for.
    - Check out some interviews that they've done -  NZ Herald Local Focus
    - Chat with family and friends about the kind of council you want to see making decisions for our city. 


  2. Make a plan to vote
    You’ll have 3 weeks to post your vote. It must be in a DX mailbox by 12pm on Saturday 8 October or you’ll miss out! Set aside some time to do your research on your choices.
    Learn about the STV voting system here.
  3. Rank them
    Palmy uses STV. You can number as many or as few people as you like. We recommend that you number a few so your top preferences count!

  4. Post it before 8 October!
    Once you’ve filled in your papers, make sure you put it with your keys so you can take it with you next time you go out. Check out our map to find your nearest voting box.


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Why do my papers look different?

Councils have three options to choose from for the order that candidate names can be shown on voting papers – alphabetical, random and pseudo-random. Palmerston North City Council has used random order for candidate names on its voting papers since 2015.

If you are on the Māori electoral roll this time, you will receive voting papers for the Mayor of Palmerston North City and the constituency seat of Tonga Māori for Horizons Regional Council. Te Pūao Māori Ward councillors have been declared elected unopposed by the Electoral Officer.

If you are on the General electoral roll, you will receive voting papers for the Mayor of Palmerston North City, Te Hirawanui General Ward, and the constituency seat of Palmerston North for Horizons Regional Council.

If you are doing a Special Vote you will also have an extra paper. You are required to make a declaration since you were not on the electoral roll (this can happen for a variety of reasons).

What voting method do we use in Palmy?

Palmerston North uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system and has done so since 2013. 

How does Single Transferable Vote (STV) work?

Under a Single Transferable Vote electoral system, voters rank candidates in their order of preference. Under STV, you would write “1” next to the name of your favourite candidate, “2” next to your second favourite candidate and so on.

STV means that you have one vote, but can indicate your preferences for as many candidates as you like, and your vote can be transferred if your most preferred candidate is so popular they don't need all their votes or is not popular at all with other voters. Under FPP, you would place one tick so if your favourite candidate did not make the cut your vote would be wasted.

How many votes are needed to be elected?

The key to understanding how a candidate is elected to council under STV, is knowledge of what is called the “quota” of votes for election.

It’s assumed that for Te Pūao Māori Ward, the quota is one third of the votes cast; and for Te Hirawanui General Ward, one-fourteenth of the votes cast. (The actual quotas to be used will be calculated after the close of voting and valid votes are tallied.)

This could be as little as 800 votes needed to get into Te Pūao Māori Ward and 2000 to get into Te Hirawanui General Ward.

More information about Single Transferable Vote.

Where can I post my vote / find a DX Mail box?

You can find DX boxes outside your local Four Squares and several supermarkets. You can look into our map and find all the boxes closest to your home or workplace.

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We’ve added extra locations to post your vote throughout the city and villages to make sure postal voting is as easy for people as we can. There is a list of locations in your candidate profile booklet with your voting papers.

There is also a ballot box at our Customer Service Centre and all our libraries (including the mobile library), our community pools, and various other community organisations and supermarkets, so you can drop off your vote on your way to work or school. See for more information.

I haven't received my voting papers. What should I do?

Voting papers should be received by 21 September.

If you haven’t received your papers by 21 September, then please call 0800 922 822 to request a special vote to be posted to you.

Or come in and see us at our Customer Service Centre. Opening hours are - 

  • 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • 9am until 4.30pm on Wednesdays

What is a special vote?

If you haven't enrolled by August, or you are on the unlisted electoral roll for personal reasons, you may need to cast a special vote.

You'll need to contact the Electoral Commission on 0800 36 76 56, or check your details on, or come in person to Council's Customer Service Centre during open hours (8.30am to 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am until 4.30pm on Wednesdays, and 8am to 12pm Saturday 8 October).

You’ll have to head down to our Customer Service Centre during opening hours between 16 September and 8 October to cast a special vote.

What if I post my vote into a NZ Post box?

DX Mail has a relationship with NZ Post, and pass incorrectly posted mail on to DX Mail.

However, we encourage people to post their voting papers in a DX Mail labelled box or a PNCC labelled box to expedite the process.

Why is the Council using DX Mail?

DX Mail has been delivering our rates mail for more than seven years. It’s familiar with our residents and provides a great, cost-effective service.

The benefits are cost-saving and enabling votes posted right up until the last day to be counted, as DX Mail will clear all boxes at midday on 8 October.

This is fantastic because in the past people had to bring their vote in to the Council office on the last day if they wanted it to be counted, otherwise they missed out. 

When will voting papers be sent out and who are they sent to?

Voting papers will begin to be sent out on Friday 16 September to those on the electoral roll.

You can check your details on the electoral roll by calling 0800 36 76 56 or visiting Voters on the unpublished roll are sent a letter from the Electoral Commission advising when voting opens and that they can visit or contact PNCC to cast a special vote.

I spoiled my voting documents / I’ve 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 and initial the changes. If necessary, we can issue you with a special voting document, but this will require you to complete a declaration. Contact us.

Am I able to nominate someone to vote on my behalf?

Yes, you can authorise someone to assist you, but only if you are

  • (a) physically impaired;
  • or (b) unable to read or write;
  • or (c) not sufficiently familiar with the language used in the voting document to vote without assistance. 

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

Who can enrol?

You can enrol to vote if: 

  • You are 18 years old or older and 
  • You are a NZ citizen, or permanent resident, or resident visa holder and 
  • You have lived in New Zealand for one year or longer continuously at some point 

If you aren't enrolled by 12 August, or you are on the unlisted electoral roll for personal reasons, you may need to cast a special vote.

You'll need to call us  or come in person to Council's Customer Service centre during opening hours (8am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 9am to 5pm Wednesday).


How can I enrol?

  • Fill in the online enrolment form on the website
  • Visit a Post Shop and pick up a form
  • Phone free on 0800 36 76 56
  • Text your name and address to free text 3676 and the form will be posted out to you.

What do I do if I live rurally?

We are aware that postal services are limited for those who live in our villages and rural areas. We have placed ballot boxes in your local primary schools to make it is as easy as possible for you to post us your vote.

We have ballot boxes at Kairanga, Longburn and Bunnythorpe schools. There are also boxes at Ashhurst Library, Ashhurst Four Square and Linton Community library.

Alternatively, bring your vote with you when you do come to town.

I own property within Palmerston North but live outside the district. Can I vote in the Palmerston North City Council elections, and if so, how do I arrange this?

You will need to enrol as a ratepayer elector. 

Download the Ratepayer Roll enrolment form(PDF, 153KB) or visit our Customer Service Centre at 32 Te Marae o Hine The Square.

What are the rules around the billboards that candidates put up around the district?

We have a Use of Public Spaces bylaw which sets out the rules for election signage.

Electioneering signs are also subject to legislative requirements. The candidate’s information handbook contains all the details. It is important that candidates read and understand these expectations.

Will Council organise public meetings for people to meet the candidates?

Usually community organisations arrange ‘meet the candidate’ sessions.

Contact details for all candidates will be available from Council’s website. We encourage residents to think about holding a session and have posted some guidelines which you may find useful.

What’s the role of a councillor?

 A Councillor: 

  • participates in strategic and long-term planning for the whole city
  • participates in setting a budget and rates 
  • develops policy across a wide range of activities and services
  • represents the city at functions as required
  • reviews and develops bylaws for the city
  • advocates on a wide range of issues
  • coordinates and forms partnerships with other spheres of government and other agencies 
  • participates in the appointment and performance review of the chief executive officer
  • acts on all these matters within a legislative and regulatory framework
  • monitors the performance of the council organisation

I’ve lost my voting papers. What can I do?

You can still cast a special vote. Contact us.

What is the pay like?

Elected members receive salaries that vary depending on the size of each council. The agency responsible for setting salaries is the Remuneration Authority.

Current PNCC councillors with no additional responsibilities earn an annual salary of $47,486. Additional salary is allocated if councillors are required to undertake greater responsibilities on a permanent basis. The Mayor earns an annual salary of $152,500.

What skills and knowledge are required to be an effective elected member?

You don’t need a formal qualification. You need to care about the voices of your community and want to serve.

  • Quality decision-making – making decisions based on staff advice, community views, experience and informed judgement, as well as being financially prudent and having an eye for risk.
  • Leadership – providing direction and making things happen to achieve the council’s vision and goals with an emphasis on strategic priorities.
  • Strategic thinking – understanding the city’s priorities and how these relate to national and international developments.
  • Cultural awareness – having a good understanding of tikanga Māori and the council’s responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as well as having an understanding of (and being empathetic to) different peoples and cultures within Council’s jurisdiction.
  • Relationship building and teamwork – building productive and supportive relationships with the community, elected members, and external organisations to create and deliver the council’s vision and goals.
  • Knowledge of local government – understanding and complying with relevant legislation, as well as the role of the council and its financial language, budgets and processes.

How much time is in involved in being an elected member?

Time commitments vary depending on the position you are elected to and what other committee responsibilities you have. The role of mayor is generally considered to be a full-time role in Palmerston North and remuneration is set on this basis.

As a councillor, you will need to set aside one full day for formal meetings. You will also be attending community functions in the evenings and the weekends and may need to make yourself available for smaller working groups in which you have an interest. All elected members need to set aside solid hours of reading time each week before the meetings. Chairs often find they have wider responsibilities and they may be remunerated more to acknowledge this.