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Code of 
for Elected 
Councillor induction pack 2019
Local Elections 2019

Haere mai
Elected Members Handbook 2019

Introduction 4
Roles and responsibilites 
Relationships and behaviours 
Compliance and review  
Appendix 14

Elected Members Handbook 2019

All councils are required to have 
Public interest
Personal judgment
a code ofconduct under the Local 
Members should serve only the 
Members can and will take account of 
Government Act 2002, Schedule 7, 
interests of the city as a whole and 
the views of others, but should reach 
Clause 15.
should never improperly confer an 
their own conclusions on the issues 
This code of conduct 
advantage or disadvantage on any 
before them, and act in accordance 
one person, or group of persons.
with those conclusions.
provides guidance on the 
standards of behaviour that 
Honesty and integrity
Respect for others
are expected from the Mayor  Members should not place 
•   Elected members should 
and elected members of the 
themselves in situations where 
remember the respect and dignity 
their honesty and integrity may 
of their office in their dealings  
Wellington City Council.
be questioned, should not behave 
with each other, management  
improperly and should on all 
and the public.
The code applies to elected members 
occasions avoid the appearance of 
in their dealings with:
•   Members should treat people 
such behaviour.
with respect, regardless of their 
•   each other
race, age, religion, gender, 
•   the Chief Executive
sexual orientation, or disability, 
•   all staff employed by the Chief 
•   Members should make decisions 
and should not unlawfully 
Executive on behalf of the council
on merit including making 
discriminate against any person  
or group of persons.
•   the media
appointments, awarding contracts, 
or recommending individuals for 
•   the general public.
rewards or benefits.
Duty to uphold the law
This code does not apply to members  •   Members should also note that, 
Members should uphold the law,  
of Community Boards.
once elected, their duty is to the 
and on all occasions, act in 
interests of the entire city.
accordance with the trust the  
The objective of the code  
public places in them.
is to enhance:
•   the effectiveness of the council as 
Members should be accountable 
the autonomous local authority 
to the public for their actions and 
Members must ensure that the 
with statutory responsibilities 
the manner in which they carry out 
council uses resources prudently 
for the good local government of 
their responsibilities, and should 
and for lawful purposes, and that 
Wellington City
cooperate fully and honestly with 
the council maintains sufficient 
•   the credibility and accountability of  the scrutiny appropriate to their 
resources to meet its statutory 
the council within its community
particular office.
•   mutual trust, respect and tolerance 
between the elected members as 
a group and between the elected 
Members should be as open as 
Members should promote and 
members and management.
possible about their actions and 
support these proposals by  
The code of conduct that follows 
those of the council, and should be 
example, and should always 
is based on the following general 
prepared to justify their actions.
endeavour to act in the best  
principles of good governance:
interests of the community.
Elected Members Handbook 2019

Roles and 
Elected Members Handbook 2019

This part of the code 
appointed. An elected member, 
•   appoint the Deputy Mayor
describes the roles and 
unable to attend a meeting, should 
•   establish committees of 
advise the Chair or Chief Executive  
responsibilities of elected 
the council and appoint the 
as soon as possible.
chairperson of each committee 
members, the Mayor 
and Deputy Mayor, and 
Committee Chairpersons.
The Mayor is elected by the district 
Deputy Mayor
as a whole and as one of the 
If the Mayor has not appointed the 
elected members shares the same 
Elected Members
Deputy Mayor as noted above, then 
responsibilities as other members 
the Deputy Mayor must be elected by 
Elected members, acting as 
of council. The Mayor also has the 
the members of council, at the first 
the council, are responsible for 
following roles:
meeting of the council.
governance, including:
•   presiding at council meetings. The 
The Deputy Mayor exercises 
•   the development and adoption  
Mayor is responsible for ensuring 
the same roles as other elected 
of council policy
the orderly conduct of business 
members, and if the Mayor is 
•   monitoring the performance  
during meetings (as determined  
absent or incapacitated, the Deputy 
of the council against its stated 
by Standing Orders)
Mayor must perform all of the 
objectives and policies
•   advocating on behalf of the 
responsibilities and duties, and may 
•   prudent stewardship of  
community. This role may involve 
exercise the powers, of the Mayor 
council resources. 
promoting the community and 
(as summarised above). The Deputy 
representing its interests. Such 
Mayor may be removed from office 
Elected members are also responsible 
advocacy will be most effective 
by resolution of council.
for representing the interests of the 
where it is carried out with the 
residents and ratepayers of the city. 
knowledge and support of the 
Committee Chairpersons
Unless otherwise provided in the 
The council may create one or 
Local Government Act 2002 or in 
•   spokesperson for the council
more committees (this includes 
Wellington City Council’s Standing 
subcommittees) of council. A 
Orders, the council can only act by 
•   ceremonial head of council
committee chairperson presides 
majority decisions at meetings. Any 
•   providing leadership and feedback  over all meetings of the committee, 
individual member (including the 
to other elected members on 
ensuring that the committee acts 
Mayor) has no authority to act on 
teamwork and chairing of 
within the powers delegated by 
behalf of the council unless provided 
council. Committee chairpersons 
for by statute or the council has 
•   fulfilling the responsibilities of 
may be called on to act as official 
expressly delegated such authority.
a Justice of the Peace (while the 
spokespersons on issues within 
Elected members are expected to 
Mayor holds office)
the terms of reference for their 
attend the meetings (ordinary and 
•   lead the development of the 
committees. Chairpersons may be 
extraordinary) of Council, as well as 
council’s plans (including 
removed from office by resolution 
the committees and subcommittees, 
long-term plan and annual 
of council. Council may also appoint 
working parties, and external 
plan), policies and budgets for 
deputy chairpersons of committees, 
organisations to which they are
consideration by members of the 
who shall fulfil the functions of the 
territorial authority
chair when the chairperson is absent.
Elected Members Handbook 2019

and behaviours
Elected Members Handbook 2019

Relationships with  
Relationships with Chief 
and concerns about the Chief 
other Members
Executive and Staff
Executive only with the Mayor 
Elected members will conduct  
The effective performance of 
or the Performance Review 
their dealings with each other 
council also requires a high level 
in ways that:
of cooperation and mutual respect 
•   not seek to improperly influence 
between elected members and staff. 
staff in the normal undertaking 
•   maintain public confidence in  
To ensure that level of cooperation 
of their duties. Elected members 
the office to which they have  
and trust is maintained, elected 
should be aware that failure to 
been elected
members will:
observe this portion of the code 
•   are open and honest
of conduct may compromise the 
•   focus on issues rather  
•   recognise that the Chief Executive 
council’s obligations to act as a 
than personalities
is the employer (on behalf of 
good employer and may expose 
council) of all council employees, 
•   avoid aggressive, offensive  
the council to civil litigation and 
and as such only the Chief 
or abusive conduct.
audit sanctions.
Executive or his or her delegated 
appointee may hire, dismiss or 
Relationships with  
instruct, or censure an employee
the Community
•   make themselves aware of the 
Effective council decision-making 
obligations that the council and 
depends on productive relationships 
the Chief Executive have as 
between elected members and the 
employers and observe those 
community at large. Members should 
requirements at all times
ensure that individual citizens are 
•   treat all employees with courtesy 
accorded respect in their dealings 
and respect (including the 
with the council, have their concerns 
avoidance of aggressive, offensive 
listened to, and deliberated on in
or abusive conduct towards 
accordance with the requirements 
of the Local Government Act 2002. 
•   observe any guidelines that the 
Members should act in a manner that 
Chief Executive puts in place 
encourages and values community 
regarding contact with employees
involvement in local democracy.
•   not do anything which 
compromises, or could be seen as 
compromising, the impartiality of 
an employee
•   avoid publicly criticising any 
employee in any way, but 
especially in ways that reflect on 
the competence and integrity of 
the employee
•   raise concerns about employees 
only with the Chief Executive, 
Elected Members Handbook 2019

Contact with the Media
Confidential Information
Members shall, within 30 days of 
The following rules apply for media 
In the course of their duties members  a request by the Chief Executive, 
contact on behalf of council:
will receive information that 
or following the triennial election, 
they need to treat as confidential. 
complete a declaration of interests. 
•   the Mayor (or in the Mayor’s 
Confidential information includes 
That declaration shall be updated 
absence, the Deputy Mayor) is 
information that officers have 
whenever members’ interests 
the first point of contact for the 
judged there is good reason to 
official view on any issue. Usually, 
withhold under sections 6 and 7 
a matter will be referred to the 
of the Local Government Official 
relevant committee chairperson 
Information and Meetings Act 1987. 
Wellington City Council seeks to 
for their comment
This will often be information that 
promote the highest standards of 
•   no other member may comment 
is either commercially sensitive or is 
ethical conduct amongst its elected 
on behalf of council without 
personal to a particular individual or 
members. Accordingly, elected 
having first obtained the approval 
members will:
of the Mayor, or in the Mayor’s 
absence, the Deputy Mayor
The Chief Executive is responsible 
•   claim only for legitimate expenses 
as laid down by any determination 
•   Elected members are free to 
for release of this information under 
of the Remuneration Authority 
express a personal view in the 
the Local Government Official 
then in force, and any lawful 
media, at any time. When doing 
Information and Meetings Act 1987. 
policy of council developed 
so, they should observe the 
Elected members should be aware 
in accordance with that 
that failure to observe confidentiality 
will impede the performance of 
–  media comments must not state  council by inhibiting information 
•   not influence, or attempt to 
or imply that they represent the  flows and undermining public 
influence, any council employee to 
views of council
confidence in the council. Failure to 
take actions that may benefit the 
–   where an elected member is 
observe these provisions may also 
member, or the member’s family 
making a statement that is 
expose council to prosecution under 
or business interests
contrary to a council decision 
the Privacy Act 1993 and/or civil 
•   not use council resources for 
or council policy, the member 
personal business (including 
must not state or imply that his 
or her statements represent a 
Conflicts of Interest
majority view
•   not abuse the advantages of their 
Elected members shall ensure 
official position for personal 
–   media comments must observe 
they comply with the provisions 
gain, or solicit or accept gifts, 
the other requirements of the 
of the Local Authorities (Members’ 
entertainment, rewards or benefits 
code of conduct, eg not disclose  Interests) Act 1968, which covers 
that might compromise their 
confidential information.
financial interests, and with other 
requirements relating to non-
pecuniary conflicts of interest. 
Members should ensure they are 
Elected members who are declared 
familiar with the guidance contained 
bankrupt shall notify the Chief 
in the Council publication Conflict of 
Executive as soon as practicable after 
Interest Guidelines.
being declared bankrupt.
10 Elected Members Handbook 2019

and review
12 Elected Members Handbook 2019

Breaches of non-statutory 
(or in the case of an alleged breach 
Elected members must comply 
by the Mayor, the Chief Executive) 
with the provisions of this code of 
Any alleged breach by a member of 
may instead refer the matter to 
conduct. Members are also bound 
the provisions of the code for which 
council. Council will be asked to 
by the Local Government Act 2002, 
there is not a process and penalty 
consider and determine whether a 
the Local Authorities (Members’ 
provided elsewhere shall be reported 
breach of the code has occurred and, 
Interests) Act 1968, the Local 
in a timely manner to the Mayor 
if so, what consequences for the 
Government Official Information 
in the first instance. The Mayor, in 
elected member should arise from 
and Meetings Act 1987, the Secret 
concert with the Chief Executive 
that breach. In completing a report 
Commissions Act 1910, the Crimes 
(where appropriate), shall consider 
to Council, fairness to all parties 
Act 1961 and the Securities Act 1978. 
each allegation in a manner that 
involved, and due process, will be 
The Chief Executive
is fair to all parties involved in the 
respected, including ensuring the 
member named in the allegation 
will ensure that an explanation 
allegation, including ensuring that 
is advised of the allegation and 
of these Acts is made at the first 
due process is respected.
given an opportunity to consider 
meeting after each triennial election 
This will include ensuring that 
and respond to it before the matter 
and that copies of these Acts are 
members named in an allegation are 
is considered by council. Council’s 
freely available to elected members. 
given an opportunity to consider 
consideration of the matter will 
Short explanations of the obligations 
and respond to that allegation. If, 
comply with statutory requirements 
that each of these Acts has with 
following the opportunity to respond 
relating to matters such personal 
respect to conduct of elected 
to the allegation, it is considered 
privacy, or confidentiality  
members is attached in Appendix 1  
that an allegation of a breach of the 
of information.
to this code.
code is well-founded, the Mayor shall 
inform the member concerned and 
Breaches of statutory provisions take any appropriate lawful action, 
Once adopted, a code of conduct 
Where there are statutory provisions:
such as censure. 
continues in force until amended 
•   breaches relating to members’ 
Any alleged breach by the Mayor 
by the council. The code can be 
interests render members 
shall be reported in a timely manner 
amended at any time but cannot be 
liable for prosecution by the 
to the Chief Executive, who shall 
revoked unless the council replaces 
Auditor-General under the Local 
consider and deal with the allegation,  it with another code. Once adopted, 
Authorities (Member’s Interests) 
seeking advice as appropriate. The 
amendments to the code of the 
Act 1968
Chief Executive shall consider each 
conduct, or the adoption of a new 
code, require a resolution supported 
•   breaches which result in the 
allegation in a manner that is fair to 
by 75 per cent or more of the 
council suffering financial loss or 
all parties involved in the allegation, 
members of the council present.
damage may be reported on by the  including ensuring that due process 
Auditor-General under the Local 
is respected. This will include 
Council will formally review the 
Government Act 2002, which may 
ensuring that the Mayor is given an 
code as soon as practicable after 
result in the member having to 
opportunity to consider and respond 
the beginning of each triennium. 
make good the loss or damage
to that allegation.
The results of that review will 
•   breaches relating to the 
If an alleged breach is considered 
be presented to council for their 
commission of a criminal offence 
to be of a serious enough nature, or 
consideration and vote.
may leave the elected member 
if there is an allegation of repeated 
liable for criminal prosecution.
breaches of the code, the Mayor 
Elected Members Handbook 2019 13

14 Elected Members Handbook 2019

Legislation Bearing on the 
must be done before the discussion 
trigger the ouster provisions of the 
Role and Conduct of Elected 
or vote. The Chief Executive must 
Local Government Act 2002 and 
also seek approval from the Audit 
result in the removal of the member 
Office for contractual payments to 
from office.
This is a summary of the legislation 
members, their spouses or their 
requirements that has some bearing 
companies that exceed the $25,000 
Crimes Act 1961
on the duties and conduct of elected 
annual limit.
members. Copies of these statutes 
Under this Act it is unlawful for an 
can be found in the council library or 
Failure to observe these 
elected member (or officer) to:
in the office of the Chief Executive.
requirements could also leave the 
•   accept or solicit for themselves (or 
elected member open to prosecution 
anyone else) any gift or reward for 
Local Authorities (Members’ 
under the Local Authorities 
acting or not acting in relation to 
Interests) Act 1968
(Members’ Interests) Act 1968. In 
the business of council
This Act regulates situations where a 
the event of a conviction elected 
•   use information gained in the 
member’s personal interests impinge,  members can be ousted from office.
course of their duties for their, or 
or could be seen as impinging on 
another persons, monetary gain 
their duties as an elected member.
Local Government Official 
Information and Meetings  
or advantage. These offences 
The Act provides that an elected 
are punishable by a term of 
Act 1987
member is disqualified from office 
imprisonment of 7 years or more. 
if that member is concerned or 
The Local Government Official 
Elected members convicted 
interested in contracts under which 
Information and Meetings Act 1987 
of these offences will also be 
payments made by or on behalf of 
sets out a list of meetings procedures 
automatically ousted from office.
the local authority exceed $25,000 in 
and requirements.
any financial year.
Of particular importance for the  
Securities Act 1978
The Securities Act 1978 essentially 
Additionally, elected members are 
roles and conduct of elected 
places elected members in the 
prohibited from participating in 
members is the fact that the chair  
same position as company directors 
any council discussion or voting 
has the responsibility to maintain 
whenever council offers stock to 
on any matter in which they have 
order at meetings.
the public. Elected members may 
a pecuniary interest, other than 
be personally liable if investment 
an interest in common with the 
Secret Commissions Act 1910
documents such as a prospectus 
general public. The same rules also 
Under this Act it is unlawful for an 
contain untrue statements and may 
apply where the member’s spouse 
elected member (or officer) to advise 
be liable for criminal prosecution  
contracts with the authority or has a 
anyone to enter into a contract with 
if the requirements of the Act are  
pecuniary interest.
a third person and receive a gift or 
reward from that third person as a 
not met.
Members may also contact the Audit 
result, or to present false receipts to 
Office for guidance as to whether that  council.
member has a pecuniary interest, and 
if so, may seek an exemption to allow  If convicted of any offence under this 
that member to participate or vote on  Act a person can be imprisoned for 
a particular issue in which they may 
up to 2 years, or fines up to $1000, or 
have a pecuniary interest. The latter 
both. A conviction therefore would 
Elected Members Handbook 2019 15