A new way of running school board of trustee elections will be tested in an effort to streamline the process.

The Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association are testing the system to reduce the workload on individual schools.

The trial will involve using New Zealand Post's Votext election management process in the December 2017 mid-term elections.

Katrina Casey from the ministry said elected boards of trustees were a key feature of the New Zealand school system.


"We want to raise the standard and quality of the democratic process and make it as easy as possible for people to get involved," Ms Casey said.

"Feedback following the last board elections found that board chairs, principals and returning officers think the system is out of date and cumbersome. They want a better process.

"The 2017 mid-term elections are a chance to trial Votext on a smaller scale than in the board of trustees' triennial elections."

Ms Casey said Votext was developed by NZ Post for use in local body elections, and managed the end-to-end process. It created voting papers, printed candidate information, managed mail distribution and counted the votes. It was used in the 2013 and 2016 local body elections.

It would make life easier for returning officers by removing a lot of manual processing and paperwork and provided economies of scale across the sector. An online tool for returning officers would manage the collation of nomination and voting material.

Ms Casey said NZSTA had been in contact with the 300-plus school boards involved to provide information on Votext and how it could assist schools and returning officers in the 2017 elections. Schools would be given the choice to opt out of the trial if they wished.