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Te rerekētanga o ngā pōtitanga ā-motu i ngā pōtitanga ā-rohe

Local versus general elections

Let’s look at the difference between local and general elections.

General elections

General elections decide who represents all New Zealanders in Parliament.

They are run by the Electoral Commission, which is independent from the government.

General elections are held every three years, but do not have a set date.

The Prime Minister is responsible for announcing the date of the general election and must do it before the maximum term of three-years is over.

All eligible New Zealanders can vote.

Who can vote in the New Zealand general elections

You are eligible to enrol and vote if you:

  • are 18 years or older
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • have lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months or more at some time in your life.

Why you need to enrol

You might be eligible to vote but this does not mean you're automatically enrolled. So you still need to enrol.

Find out more about enrolling to vote in the general election.

​How to enrol to vote

This video explains how to enrol quickly and easily online.


Read the full transcript of this video.

When voting opens

Voting in the general election opens around two weeks before election day.

You can cast an early vote or wait to vote at the polling stations on election day.

You get two votes

Everyone gets two votes in the general election:

  • an electorate vote
  • a party vote.

Electorate vote

Use your electorate vote for the candidates you want to represent the area you live in.

There are currently 22 electorates in Auckland. This means there are 22 Members of Parliament or ‘MPs’ who represent Auckland.

Party vote

  • Use your party vote for the political party you want to represent you in parliament.
  • The leader of the party that gets the largest proportion of votes will become the Prime Minister.

Local elections

Local elections are a bit different from general elections.

Like the general election, they are held every three years but unlike the general election, local elections have a set date.

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, local elections must be held on the second Saturday in October every three years.

The next local elections are on 11 October 2025.

More information on key dates for the 2025 local election will be shared closer to the time.

Who can vote in Auckland local elections

  • If you are on the electoral roll and live in the Auckland region, you are enrolled to vote in our local elections.
  • If you live outside of Auckland but own property in Auckland, you are eligible to vote, but might still need to enrol.

To check if you are enrolled, visit the Electoral Commission website.

How local elections are run

Councils run their own local elections and they are administered by postal vote.

This means that there are no polling stations like at general elections.

You vote to elect the members who make up your local council.

Because Auckland has a unique governance model, you can cast multiple votes to decide who will represent you and your community.

Learn more about how elections work.

Local elections in Tāmaki Makaurau

In Tāmaki Makaurau, you vote for:

  • the mayor
  • ward councillors
  • local board members.

Local elections, local issues

When you vote in the local election, you are voting for candidates from your local area.

Vote for licensing trusts

If you live in an area of Auckland that has licensing trusts, then you will also have a vote for who you want to represent you on their boards.

Licensing trusts are publicly owned businesses, with privileges under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

One mayor for Auckland

The only candidates that will be the same for all Aucklanders are those who are running for mayor.

Because the mayor represents all Aucklanders, every Aucklander get to have their say on who this will be.

Know your ward councillors from your local board members

  • Ward councillors are elected from the 13 different wards in Auckland and together with the mayor, they make up the Governing Body.
  • Local board members are the elected members for the 21 local boards.

Infographic showing how the mayor, ward councillors and local board members are elected.


Read next topic - Why voting matters.


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