They have been elected by the Bay of Plenty and Taupō public but 3 per cent of the region's mayors, councillors and health board representatives won't publicly reveal whether they have received Covid-19 vaccinations.
By comparaison, their peers open about being vaccinated say it is their responsibility as leaders to help the region move ahead and that community wellbeing needs to be prioritised over any "personal agenda".
NZME canvassed 100 Bay of Plenty democratically elected members to find out who was vaccinated. Two Western Bay of Plenty councillors declined to say and one at Whakatāne District Council did not respond to email, phone or text contact.
All elected members at Rotorua Lakes Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, Kawerau District Council, Taupō District Council, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, and Lakes District Health Board are vaccinated, as are most at Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Whakatāne District Council.
Western Bay councillors Murray Grainger and Monique Gray declined to say either way, with Grainger saying he was following his GP's advice.
Whakatāne councillor Alison Silcock could not be reached.
Tauranga City Council's four government-appointed, non-elected commissioners have also been vaccinated.
Local Government New Zealand president and Bay of Plenty Regional Council councillor Stuart Crosby said this was a time for all elected members to consider the wellbeing of the wider community over and above their own views.
"Elected members are there to act in the best interests of the community and not to advocate their personal agenda," Crosby said.
Crosby, a former Tauranga mayor, said elected members needed to demonstrate leadership, prepare for the challenge ahead, actively engage, support and communicate with their community. This also applied to vaccination.
Crosby said, from his experience, that when a person was elected "you do lose a lot of your privacy".
"That aside, being vaccinated is a personal choice and if you choose not to be vaccinated then there is an expectation that you do not put anyone at risk."
Those refusing to be vaccinated should "take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of others", he said.
Western Bay councillor Anne Henry said some people could not have the vaccine for health reasons, "not because they don't want to".
"It's a strange and hard time. We all need to remember we all have our own story. We all need to be kind," she said.
"We don't know why people are choosing to do what they are doing. There are some radicals out there but they are, and will always be, far and few between others who have serious issues."
Whakatāne councillor Gerard van Beek said he did not want unvaccinated elected members to become "categorised".
"It's a very difficult thing. We have a healthcare system where everyone needs to be treated equally and respected equally and that includes people who choose not to be vaccinated."
However, Rotorua councillor Raj Kumar said everyone who was able had a responsibility to be vaccinated, especially elected members such as himself.
"There's a responsibility and as a community leader, I feel that if I'm vaccinated, I'm helping those who are wanting to move ahead - our businesses, hospitality, you know?
"We have a lot of ailing businesses, tourism has been totally affected, so we need more people from all walks of life to get vaccinated ... This is not a conspiracy. It means we can all move ahead at once.
"A lot of people holding back don't realise.
"You can't be selfish. You have to make good, ethical choices. Stick with those and be respectful."
Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas said his team came from different walks of life and had different ideas and perspectives "but we are united on this front".
With Taupō being such a tourism hotspot, particularly in summer, it was "vitally important" for as many people as possible to be vaccinated, Trewavas said.
"We all want to hit that 90 per cent target. It's been pretty flat times of late, especially for tourism which is where about 30 per cent of our turnover comes from. To be able to get people back doing the various activities would be great."
At Ōpōtiki District Council, deputy mayor Shona Browne confessed to a phobia of needles but was vaccinated nonetheless.
"I'm a big sook but this is just so important. It's life-saving."
Browne also experienced breast cancer 23 years ago and said if she had faith in the health system that treated her back then, and she is well and healthy all these years later, then there was no reason not to trust the system now.
Whakatāne councillor Nāndor Tānczos said getting vaccinated was the single most useful thing he could do to keep himself, whānau and community safer.
Another Bay of Plenty councillor, who NZME has chosen not to identify, said he was fully vaccinated and expected his peers should be also as he was immune-compromised.
Tauranga-based regional councillor Stacey Rose said people needed to start taking Covid-19 seriously.
"Many people out there are spreading misinformation all because they believe they are losing their freedom of choice," Rose said.
"In my opinion, they have the right to choose what goes into their body but sadly do not realise that with every choice comes a consequence. Many have seen big consequences like losing their jobs. We as a city need to make a stand to protect our tamariki and mokopuna.
"We just need to get vaccinated."