Triennial school board elections 2022

Triennial elections for school boards are now being held between 5 September and 23 September 2022 and include provision for electronic voting.

Key information about the triennial election process

  • In the lead up to elections board are required to set the election date and appoint a returning officer at least 63 days before the election date. The suggested common date is 7 September 2022, if schools are using the common date the returning officer should have been appointed by 6 July 2022.
  • Boards need to be working on succession planning and promoting the elections within their community NOW as the call for nominations goes out in July 2022.
  • Staff elections are run alongside the parent representative elections
  • Student elections are also held annually in September and the suggested date for student elections is 12 September 2022. These run to a different timetable to the parent and staff triennial elections.
  • This year, changes to the Education (Board Elections) Regulations 2022 allow for elections to be conducted electronically. Boards will need to use an accredited provider to run the electronic voting process. A school cannot run the electronic voting process independent of an accredited provider.
  • You can find details about the accredited provider on Accredited provider - Board elections.
  • If you have a question or concern about any election process at your school, please contact the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) for support: electionsadvice@nzsta.org.nz

Changes we have made to enable electronic elections

We have made changes to the election regulations to enable an electronic election option which may make it easier for some schools who choose to take up this option. Public consultation mid-way through this year showed strong support for electronic elections. They were considered more inclusive with a potential to increase participation. The existing paper-based voting papers will continue to be available.

To enable an electronic election option a notice was published in the New Zealand Gazette and an amendment to the Education (Board Elections) Regulations 2000 took effect on 9 June 2022.

Further information

What do we need to consider if we choose to run our elections with an accredited provider?

Under the regulations, boards are able to use an accredited provider to run electronic elections for the parent and staff representative triennial elections, midterm elections and any by-election. Depending on the services the accredited provider offers will depend on how much of the electoral process will be completed by a school based returning officer/ liaison person and how much will be completed by the service provider. Boards will need also consider the financial implications for the school (see below), and the time needed by a school-based person to collate the roll information to share to the provider.

If the board appoints a provider as a Returning Officer(RO):

  • School will contract the provider to run the elections
  • School will need to provide the roll information/ eligibility to the RO/ provider (good idea to have a school liaison person).

If school boards appoint a Returning Officer (RO) and opt to use the providers services to run the election:

  • School still has a RO
  • Provider supplies access to the electronic systems for the returning officer to use to run an electronic voting election
  • School RO runs the election.

School opting to use electronic voting elections also are required to provide a paper-based option for those eligible to be on the parent roll to be able to take part in the election, if they do not have access to the electronic voting system.

Please note that only boards who have engaged accredited providers and/ or their services are able to run the voting process electronically. Boards or returning officers are unable to create their own electronic voting process for parent and staff representative elections

How secure are electronic elections and will my name and how I voted be discoverable?

The regulations have been amended to ensure electronic elections are safe and secure while being accessible and verifiable.

Will schools and individuals be able to vote using the current paper-based system?

Yes. Schools will be able to use the current paper-based process if they wish. Voters who do not wish to vote electronically will also be able to vote using a paper-based system.

Are electronic elections quicker?

No, the timeline for both electronic and paper-based elections is the same. However, the time requirement for the returning officer may be less than a fully paper-based election.

Is there different funding for electronic elections?

The funding for school board election information can be found on School board elections funding. There is no difference in funding for paper-based or electronic elections.

What are the privacy considerations for school boards?

As with any sharing of information with a third party, school boards will need to be aware of what information they are providing, have they permission to share the information, are they sharing only what is necessary, how secure the information transfer is, and what will be done with this information after the elections. This is something all boards will need to consider as they appoint a returning officer regardless of whether they are opting for paper-based systems or electronic system.

What does this mean for schools with alternative constitutions?

Schools with alternative constitutions may have different election processes. Changes to the regulations to allow electronic voting may allow some of these schools a choice on how they run their election. These changes will not force schools with alternative constitutions to change their election systems.

Our school have a staggered election cycle, are we able to run electronic elections?

Yes, any parent or staff elections can be run either using a paper-based or electronic voting system.

Do we need to use an accredited provider for student elections?

No, the regulations allow for student elections to be run as per the regulations by the returning officer.

Our kura would like to hold hui-based elections, can we do this under the current regulations?

Te Rūnanga Nui advises their kura on how to choose board members through hui. Their advice adheres to the Education and Training Act and the new Regulations.

What does the board need to do ahead of the elections?

The board must appoint a returning officer for each election. The board may also choose to hold the election electronically or in paper form. If the board wishes to hold an election of a parent or staff representative electronically then the board must also engage an accredited provider to provide services to the returning officer, or appoint an accredited provider as the returning officer

Is there anything else the board needs to do?

Yes, the board should be working on promotion of the elections within the community to ensure the community are aware that this is election year and encourage the community to get involved, by standing, nominating, and voting in the elections. NZSTA has promotion resources and ideas to support boards with this on School Board Elections - schoolboardelections.org.nz(external link)

What does this mean for the mid-term elections?

Under the Education and Training Act 2020, mid-term elections must be held 18 months after the triennial elections. We are currently considering options for how mid-term elections processes can happen at a time that is convenient for schools.

Will student representative elections still happen in September?

Elected student representatives provide an important voice on school boards. Student representative elections take place annually in September. The delay of the triennial elections means that schools will be able to hold their triennial and student elections at the same time. The amended September date for the triennial elections will raise further awareness of the school board elections and all new elected members will start at the same time.

How to get help

NZSTA works in partnership with the Ministry of Education to support the school board election process and promote community engagement and participation and is available to support school boards and returning officers, with governance matters and election matters in the lead up to the 2022 triennial elections.

NZSTA school board elections website has all the information to help every board run successful triennial and mid-term school board elections, as well as student representative elections.

School Board Elections - schoolboardelections.org.nz(external link)

Email NZSTA at electionsadvice@nzsta.org.nz.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback