Staggered (mid-term) elections

The mid-term election option for boards was introduced through the Education Amendment Act 2000. This provision enables a board to have half the number of its parent representatives elected in a triennial election year, and the remainder at a mid-term election 18 months later.

A board can decide at any time to adopt a staggered election cycle for the election of its parent representative board members.

Keep your community informed

Before a board can adopt a staggered election cycle it must give reasonable notice to all parents of students at the school. The board must tell the parents the time, date and place of the meeting where it will be considered; the nature of the decision to be made and the fact they have the right to attend the meeting.

The process

Once the board has opted into the staggered election cycle, it must notify the Ministry of Education so that it can receive mid-term election funding. It is also helpful to let NZSTA know.

There are two options for opting into the staggered election cycle.

Option 1: If a board wants its next triennial board member election to be held under this system, it must make the decision to opt in before the triennial election process gets underway (i.e. before it appoints its returning officer and sets its election date).

The board must decide which positions will be for the full three-year term of office, and which will be for an initial 18-month term of office. The rule is that the majority of the parent representatives will be elected for the full three years (triennial parent representatives) and the minority for eighteen months (mid-term parent representatives).

Option 2: If a board wants to start the staggered election cycle with a mid-term election, then it must make the decision to opt in before the mid-term election process gets underway.

The minority of parent representatives on the board will stand at the mid-term elections. As a consequence, for this first mid-term election only, some parent representatives will have their term of office shortened. The decision about which board member that will be must be made only by the parent representatives on the board. This decision must be by consensus of the parent representatives or, if consensus cannot be reached, by way of a ballot of all the parent representatives.

When a board member is stood down for the initial election they can still re-stand at the mid-term elections.

Legally the board’s mid-term elections must be held in the month that is eighteen months after the month in which the board’s triennial elections were held.

Board member register

Once the board has held its first election under this option, be sure to update the board member register by adding "triennial" or "mid-term" to the list of parent representatives.

Opting out of the staggered election cycle

If a board decides to opt out of the staggered election cycle, it can simply pass a resolution to do so at a board meeting. This can be done at any time. The board's decision to opt out does not take effect until the next triennial elections, when the parent and staff representatives on the board will step down.

However, if the board decides to opt out before a mid-term election, it still needs to hold the mid-term election. The terms of office of parent representatives elected at the mid-terms will be shortened to eighteen months, because all parent representatives will go out of office at the same time at the next triennial election.

Once a board has opted out of the staggered election cycle, it must notify the Ministry of Education so that it no longer receives mid-term election funding. It is also helpful to let NZSTA know.

For more information

Schedule 23 or the Education and Training Act 2020 - staggered (mid-term) elections

Election planner tool - to calculate the key dates for your mid-term elections, both triennial and mid-term elections are conducted in the same manner.

NZSTA’s Governance advisory and support centre advisers are here to help. Please get in touch on 0800 782 435 or email: govadvice@nzsta.org.nz

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