Participate Palmy

Election questions and answers

This page answers any questions you might have about the current by-election or Council's election process.

Why do we need to have a by-election?

The Local Electoral Act requires us to hold a by-election if there is an extraordinary vacancy on the Council more than 12 months out from the next local body election.

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

We sent voting papers out in late January 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Voters on the unpublished roll were sent a letter from the Electoral Commission advising that voting has opened and that they could visit or contact PNCC to cast a special vote.

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

Please contact the Deputy Electoral Officer. Email, call 06 356 8199, or visit our Customer Service Centre, 32 The Square.

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 17 February. NZ Post does not offer this service.

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.

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

DX Mail has a relationship with NZ Post, and passes 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.

Where can I post my vote?

We’ve more than 45 locations to post your vote throughout the city and villages to make sure voting is as easy for people as we can. There's even a QR code on the front of your voting envelope so you can check on your way where the closest box is. Please note, because of the change in Covid alert levels, we've now removed ballot boxes from schools. At Alert Level 2, our mobile library is also off the road.

There are still ballot boxes at our Customer Service Centre and our libraries, our swimming pools, and various other community organisations.

What do I do if I live rurally?

We're aware 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 as easy as possible for you to post us your vote.

We have ballot boxes at Aokautere, Bunnythorpe, Kairanga, Linton Camp and Turitea Schools. There is also a box at Ashhurst Library and Four Square and Linton Community Library.

I own property in Palmerston North but don't live there. Can I vote in the by-election, and if so, how do I arrange this?

Since the final electoral roll has already been published, you will need to enrol as a ratepayer elector.  Visit the Council front of house on The Square to cast a special vote, call us on 06 356 8199, or email

Why are the candidates on my voting paper listed in a different order to other voting papers in our household?

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 adopted random order for candidate names on its voting papers for the 2015 by-election and has used it ever since.

What voting method do we use in Palmy?

Palmerston North uses the Single Transferable Vote electoral system and has done so since 2013. The same system is used for DHB elections.

How does Single Transferable Voting work?

Under this system, you rank candidates in your order of preference. For example, you 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 all the candidates and it can be transferred if your most preferred candidate is so popular s/he doesn't need all their votes or is not popular at all with other voters. 

What is a special vote?

If you haven't enrolled yet but still want to vote, you can. This is called a special vote.

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

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.

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

Council's Signs and Use of Public Places Bylaw sets out the rules for election signage in Palmerston North.

Electioneering signs are also subject to legislative requirements in the Local Electoral Act.  The candidate handbook contains comprehensive information about all the rules relating to billboards. It is important that all candidates read and understand these requirements. You can find it and other resources for prospective councillors here:

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

No. Contact details for all candidates are available on our website so you can get in touch directly. We also encourage residents to host meet the candidates sessions and have posted some guidelines which may be helpful.

What is 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

For more information, check out the resources at how to stand.

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 and initial the changes. If necessary, we can issue you with a special voting document.