Mayors throughout the country will become more powerful under new law changes set to come into action after October's local elections.
The changes will allow mayors to appoint their own deputies, set the structure of committees and appoint committee chairpeople.
Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said the changes had the potential to bring real benefits.
It enabled new councils to "hit the ground running" and for councillors to work more effectively together, Mr Yule said.
Mayors would become responsible for driving the set up of major plans and budgets, which included long-term and annual plans.
They would also be more accountable for their decisions, Mr Yule said.
The law changes bring all the country's councils in line with the powers already granted to the Auckland Mayor under the Super City process.
The new powers would encourage cross-council collaboration because, in order to use them, a mayor needed the majority support of councillors, he said.
Voting papers for city, district and regional councils have now been sent out.
These must be returned posted or hand-delivered in time to reach the relevant electoral officer by noon on October 12.