Nominations for Auckland’s local elections are opening on Friday, July 19.

While Aucklanders from all walks of life are being encouraged to stand in this year’s local election, it would be nice to understand what’s involved in being an elected member.

Elected members play a varied role in the day-to-day running of Auckland, so no two days are the same.

A day in the life of an elected member
On any given day, an elected member might be: 

  • reading and preparing for the upcoming week's meetings
  • voting in various decision-making meetings and committees
  • engaging with the public to hear their views
  • attending events like public meetings, school prizegivings, citizenship ceremonies or the opening of a new park or cycleway
  • representing the council at cultural events like Matariki, Chinese New Year or Diwali
  • taking part in community activities like a working bee for a local stream regeneration project.

On top of this, there will be responsibilities that relate to your specific role. 

Councillors
Councillors make decisions that address the needs of Auckland as a whole.
In a typical day, a councillor might:

  • attend a governing body or committee meeting
  • meet with water specialists to discuss options for improving water quality at a local beach
  • hear an update on progress in preventing the spread of kauri dieback
  • speak to residents as part of a consultation about a new bylaw
  • talk to media about plans for the development of Auckland's waterfront.

Local board members
Local boards make decisions on local issues like playgrounds and sporting facilities and help build strong communities.

They also have a key advocacy role in regional decisions and policies, and represent the board within the community and at a regional level. 

In a typical day, a local board member might:

  • attend the local board's monthly meeting
  • meet with council employees to discuss plans for a local playground
  • respond to media queries
  • attend the monthly meeting of a residents' association
  • engage with members of the public at a local library

What to expect

Being an elected member at any level is a serious commitment, even though your responsibilities and hours will vary according to the office you represent and serve.

It is also a public role and will put you in the spotlight. You will be called upon to speak at meetings and events, and the media may ask for your views on certain topics. 

If you are thinking of becoming a candidate, you should consider how you might balance the requirements and responsibilities of the role with the rest of your life.