Information for Christchurch Mayoral, City Council and Community Board candidates.

If you're thinking of standing as a candidate in the 2020 Mt Herbert by-election, you can find the nomination form and candidate information guide on the 2020 Mt Herbert by-election page(external link).

The information on this page relates to the October 2019 local elections, but much of it is useful for people thinking about standing as a candidate in the 2020 Mt Herbert by-election(external link). The specific dates given relate to the October 2019 election.

If you have any questions, please contact Electoral Officer Jo Daly on 03 941 8581 or 027 236 9052 or at

Electoral expenses and donations

All candidates in elections held under the provisions of the Local Electoral Act 2001 must file a return of electoral donations and expenses.

A candidate is required to keep a record of all electoral donations and campaign election expense and must furnish a return to the electoral officer within 55 days of the election result being declared, no later than Wednesday 18 December 2019.

If a candidate is outside New Zealand on the election result day, they have 76 days after the election result day to furnish their return.

Return of electoral donations and expenses form. [PDF, 201 KB]

Once the electoral expenses and electoral donations return forms and supporting documents are sent back to the council they become public documents and will be placed on the Council’s website and can be inspected by any person for the next seven years.

Any queries regarding these returns should be directed to the Electoral Officer Jo Daly on 03 941 8581 or

Campaign expenditure

Candidates have campaign expenditure limits and are required to file a return to the electoral officer after the election.

Section 111 of the Local Electoral Act 2001 (external link)details the maximum amount of electoral expenses. The Candidate Information Booklet includes a summary from section 111(1) of the Act of maximum amount of electoral expenses (inclusive of goods and services tax) that a candidate must not exceed.

Campaign expenditure is all expenses relating to the campaign from the period three months before election day, for example all expenditure from 12 July 2019 to 12 October 2019 plus any apportioned costs of any election campaigning before 12 July 2019. (refer to section 112 of the Local Electoral Act 2001(external link)).

If a candidate is standing for more than one position (for example mayor and councillor) then the higher limit applies (not both combined).

The relevant sections of the Local Electoral Act 2001 on election expenses are available in the Candidate Information Booklet. Please note:

  1. Candidates are required to keep evidence of any election expenses for amounts exceeding $200.
  2. All candidates must submit a return of election expenses and donations form even if no expenses have been incurred or donations received.
  3. The $200 nomination deposit fee is not an electoral expense.

Electoral donations

Candidates should note the following with regard to electoral donations:

An electoral donation is a donation of money, goods or services that is made for use in a candidate’s electoral campaign (section 103A of the Local Electoral Act(external link)). Electoral donations and contributions to donations of more than $1500, including GST, are required to be declared in the candidate’s return of electoral expenses and donations. A series of donations made by one person that adds up to more than $1500 must also be declared.

An electoral donation includes:

  • Where a candidate is provided with goods or services free of charge that have a reasonable market value greater than $300.
  • Where a candidate is provided with discounted goods or services and the reasonable market value of the goods or services is greater than $300, the difference between the contract or agreed price and the reasonable market value of those goods and services is a donation.
  • Where a candidate sells over-valued goods or services, the difference between the price paid and the reasonable market value is a donation, for example a funding raising auction or dinner.

Donations to candidates can be made up of pooled funds contributed by more than one person (referred to as donations funded from contributions). These types of donations include, for example, campaign donations made through a trust, or where there is a fundraising collection for a candidate’s campaign.

Candidates must disclose, in their return of electoral donations and expenses, whether a donation is funded from contributions and the name and address of any individuals contributing amounts in excess of $1500. Anonymous donations made through contributions are limited to a maximum of $1500 per donation.

Candidates who receive an anonymous donation of more than $1500 are required to pay the amount over $1500 to the electoral officer (for payment into the Council’s general account).

The electoral officer’s role is to bring these matters to the attention of all candidates.


Before you start your campaign, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

All candidates should refer to the candidate information booklet [PDF, 30 MB].

There are some important rules around how you use social media. Read our social media guidelines for candidates [PDF, 388 KB].

All election advertising, using any medium including social media, must identify the person under whose authority they have been produced, as per section 113 of the Local Electoral Act 2001. This requires an authorisation statement, clearly visible on any and all campaigning material including the name and physical address of the person authorising the advertising.

Election campaigning can commence at any time but should cease by the close of voting, at noon on Saturday 12 October.

The use of hoardings, signage and billboards must comply with what is consented under the Christchurch City Council District Plan and resource consent for local election signage. Temporary party/candidate signage not already permitted under the District Plan shall only be displayed during the period beginning nine weeks before the day on which the voting period ends (polling day) and midnight before polling day. In 2019, this period begins Saturday 10 August, and signage must come down by midnight on Friday 11 October.

All candidates should refer to the Guidelines for Temporary Local Election Signage [PDF, 217 KB].

The technical details [PDF, 239 KB] relating to these guidelines should be referred to for clarification regarding rules.

Council resources are not permitted to be used for campaigning purposes.

Videos for candidates

Useful videos from Local Government New Zealand explaining how to stand for local government, the skills you’ll need and how councils work.

Local Government New Zealand(external link) has created these useful videos.

Standing for local government

Elected member skills and behaviours

How councils work

Nomination requirements

Wards and community board areas

Christchurch and Banks Peninsula have 16 wards and seven community boards, each representing a different areas around the city.

Candidate information requests to Council

The Council publishes information requested by candidates in the lead up to the Local Body Election on 12 October 2019. This enables Council information to be available to all candidates on an equal basis.