Elected Members Roles and Conduct


MDC Crest

This page gives an overview of the Mayor and Councillors' roles and responsibilities.

Collective duties of the Council

  • Representing the interests of the council
  • Formulating the council’s strategic direction and relative priorities through the Long Term Plan, which determines the services and activities to be undertaken by council over a ten-year period
  • Determining the expenditure and funding requirements of council activities through the Long Term Plan and annual planning processes
  • Overseeing, developing and/or approving all council policies, administrative, legal, financial and strategic, including formal district planning matters within the council’s geographical area of responsibility
  • Monitoring the on-going performance of council against its stated objectives and policies (including formal sign-off of the Annual Report)
  • Ensuring prudent use of council resources
  • Law-making (bylaws)
  • Overseeing council compliance with any relevant Acts of Parliament
  • Employing, setting performance requirements for, and monitoring the on-going performance of the council’s Chief Executive (under the Local Government Act 2002).

Representation and advocacy

  • Bringing the views of the community into council decision-making processes
  • Being an advocate for community groups and individuals at council meetings
  • Balancing the need to advocate for specific interests against the needs of the wider community
  • Listening to the concerns of local residents and ratepayers on issues pertaining to the council
  • Maintaining contact with community representatives and other local stakeholders
  • Participating in any relevant consultative processes with the local community and/or other organisations.

Governance

  • Participating constructively and effectively in the good governance of the council as a whole
  • Understanding and ensuring that basic principles of good governance are a part of the decision-making approach of the council
  • Understanding and respecting the differing roles of mayor, deputy mayor, committee chairs and councillors
  • Recognising that the governance role does not extend to operational matters or to the management of any implementation
  • Having a good understanding of the council processes set out in the Standing Orders that determine how council meetings are run
  • Developing and maintaining a working knowledge of council services, management processes, powers, duties and constraints
  • Participating in the setting and monitoring of council policies, budgets, strategies and service delivery through annual and long-term planning processes
  • Ensuring familiarity with agendas and other council reports before council meetings
  • Being familiar with and complying with the statutory requirements of an elected councillor
  • Complying with the Code of Conduct adopted by the council
  • Identifying, being aware of and declaring any potential personal conflicts of interest, whether of a pecuniary or non-pecuniary nature.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to the Local Government Act 2002

Code of Conduct

View a copy of Council's Code of Conduct here.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires Councils to adopt a Code of Conduct for the elected members of the Council. The Council last reviewed and adopted its Code of Conduct on 12 December 2013.  The code also applies to all people appointed to committees or subcommittees of Council.

Manawatu District Council's Code of Conduct provides guidance on the standards of behaviour expected from elected members in their dealings with:

  • each other
  • the Chief Executive
  • staff
  • the media; and
  • the general public

Applicable Statutory Requirements

Section 46(1) Local Government Act 2002

Councillors can be held liable for losses resulting from negligence or unlawful action by the elected Council.

Schedule 7 clause 1 of the Local Government Act 2002

Any elected member (the Mayor or a councillor) will be disqualified if they cease to be an elector or become disqualified for registration as an elector under the Electoral Act 1993, or are convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or more.

Local Authority (Members’ Interests) Act 1968

This regulates the circumstances under which a member has a pecuniary interest in a matter before the Council. Nobody may be elected to a Council, or once elected, remain a member, if the value of contracts between the Council and that member exceed $25,000 in any financial year. Nor may a member participate in the discussion or voting on a matter in which the member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest, except an interest in common with the public.

If members are convicted of a breach of this requirement they will be automatically be disqualified from office. They may also be fined up to $100. A disqualified member may, however, stand for election at a by-election.

Local Government Official Information And Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA)

The obligations of LGOIMA are binding on members. They apply to the disclosure of information by a member in respect of any information held by that member (in his or her capacity as member) to a member of the public. The underlying principle is that unless there is good reason to withhold it, information should be made available. Section 7 of the Act gives a number of grounds for withholding disclosure.

The LGOIMA also sets out the procedural requirements for meetings of local authorities, the publication of agenda, procedures for discussion with the public excluded and access by the public to the minutes of meetings.

The Secret Commissions Act 1910

This makes it unlawful:

  • for a member (or officer) to advise anyone in respect of entering or not entering into a contract with a third person in relation to the business of the Council
  • to receive a gift or reward from anyone outside the Council in return for advice or services in relation to the business of the Council * or to present false receipts to the Council.

The Crimes Act 1961

This makes it unlawful for members:

  • to accept or solicit for themselves (or anyone else) any gift or reward for acting or not acting in relation to the business of the Council
  • or use information gained in the course of the member’s duties for monetary gain or advantage by the member, or anyone else.

Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013

The main purposes of this Act are:

  • to promote the confident and informed participation of businesses, investors, and consumers in the financial markets; and
  • promote and facilitate the development of fair, efficient, and transparent financial markets. 

Its application to Council would arise if Council wished to borrow money by public stock issues. In such a case, Council would be required to publish an investment statement and a prospectus. Where published documents relating to an issue of securities are found to contain false or misleading information, or are likely to mislead or confuse or contain untrue statements, the directors (in this case the Mayor and Councillors) of the issue may be held both criminally liable and civilly liable.