The rules for candidates standing in October's local body elections have been released by the Department of Internal Affairs, with the golden rule - you must be a New Zealand citizen - particularly relevant in Northland.
Nomination for October's elections open on July 19 and closes at noon on August 16. Nominations must be lodged with the relevant council's electoral officer.
The Department of Internal Affairs has reminded those who intend standing of the golden rule - they must be New Zealand citizens at the time of their nomination.
At the last local body election in 2016 Go Whangarei candidate Angela Gill withdrew her candidacy after she was mistakenly advised she was eligible to stand as she was part-way through obtaining citizenship.
And then, fellow Go Whangarei candidate Jayne Golightly had to resign as an elected Denby Ward councillor after it was discovered she was not a NZ citizen. The resignation led to a byelection costing around $35,000.
Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General of births, deaths and marriages, said would-be citizens had to meet a number of criteria, including good character requirements, length of residence and proficiency in the English language. All applicants would have to attend a citizenship ceremony, public or private, to become a citizen.
"Those people intending to put themselves forward as candidates at local elections who are unsure of their status, or who need to apply for citizenship, should contact the Department of Internal Affairs. Potential candidates should contact the department as soon as possible, and should allow at least 10 working days for their citizenship submission to be processed," Montgomery said.
October's elections will see Northlanders voting for representatives on Whangārei, Far North and Kaipara district councils; Northland Regional Council and Northland District Health Board.
Ballot forms will be delivered from September 20 with voting closing at noon on October 12. The new mayor, councillors, community board and district health board members should be known that evening.
For more information go to: http://www.localcouncils.govt.nz/lgip.nsf/wpg_URL/About-Local-Government-Participate-in-Local-Government-About-your-2019-local-elections