So, how does Auckland Council work, anyway?
Here’s a very simple guide.
First: Auckland is divided into 13 areas called wards, and 21 separate areas called local boards.
That seems … complicated.
Yep. The Auckland ‘Super City’ was formed in 2010 when eight separate regional councils combined, so it is a bit complicated. But bear with me.
Each ward has one or two councillors. They’re elected by the people who live in their ward, and they make ‘big-picture’ decisions about the whole region.
So if I live in the Manukau ward, I vote for the Manukau ward councillor?
Correct. There are 20 councillors, but when you vote, you choose from the candidates who are standing in your ward.
Where does the mayor come in?
The mayor is elected ‘at large’. This means that everyone in Auckland votes for the one person they think will best represent the whole region.
The mayor and the 20 councillors form what’s called the governing body. This is the group that makes all the big-picture regional decisions.
What about the local boards?
As well as voting for a councillor for your area, you vote for your local board. Local boards have between five and nine members.
They make decisions about things that affect their area – for example parks and local events. They’re also strong representatives for their communities.
Larger local board areas are divided into subdivisions. You vote within your subdivision for representative members on the overall local board.
So the governing body and the local boards are separate?
Essentially, yes. They make separate decisions to do with their own areas of governance (regional, big-picture for the governing body, local for the local boards).
But of course it’s important that they communicate and work together well to ensure everything runs smoothly.
So what’s the TL;DR version?
TL;DR: When you vote, you choose the mayor, the councillor for your ward, and the local board members for your area.
The mayor and councillors make up the governing body (which makes big-picture, regional decisions).
The local boards focus on local, area-specific decisions.