How do I call for nominations?
For the parent representative election:
- you must either post a notice or personally deliver a notice to each person named on the electoral roll and include a nomination form
- “post or personally deliver” does not include sending notices home by “schoolbag post”
- you must publish the same information in a newspaper circulating in the school’s area, this can also be published in the school newsletter or on the school website.
- the notice should also advise that a candidate can provide a supporting statement. (We recommend up to 400 words), photos may also be included.
Staff and student representative
For the staff and student representative elections:
- you must post through an accredited postal service or personally deliver a notice to each person named on the appropriate roll for each election
- you can display notices in prominent places around the school - if you are satisfied this will adequately inform electors about the call for nominations.
What do I have to put in the notice calling for nominations?
The notice calling for nominations must:
- invite nominations for election
- state precisely how many trustees are to be elected, and for what term (if applicable)
- give the closing date and time for nominations to be received
- state that the roll is open for inspection and where to inspect it
- give the election date and the time the poll closes
- when the notice is posted or delivered, include a nomination paper
- when the notice is published or displayed, state where nomination forms may be obtained.
What if fewer nominations are received than vacancies on the board? (for example, three or four nominations for five vacancies, or fewer than three nominations)
If you have three nominations a board can be formed, even if you have advertised for more than three positions. It is then up to the incoming board to decide how it will fill the vacancies. No voting will need to occur.
If the nominations are equal to or fewer than the number of vacancies, no voting needs to take place and all candidates are declared elected.
If it becomes obvious before nominations close that you are unlikely to receive sufficient nominations, advise the board chair. This will enable the board to be proactive in encouraging people to stand.
What if a candidate withdraws their nomination?
A candidate may withdraw from the election at any time.
The withdrawal must be in writing.
Until you receive written notice the candidate is still in the election.
How to treat a withdrawal:
- Before nominations close - promptly advise the board chair as it may affect how the election is promoted
- After nominations close, but before voting papers are distributed - do not include that person’s name on the voting paper
- After voting papers have been distributed but before you have received them back - take all reasonable steps to ensure voters are notified and urged not to vote for the withdrawn candidate. Consider posting notices prominently at the school.
- If the withdrawn candidate would have been elected – this means a casual vacancy occurs the day voting closed.
This is important for the board as it then has a time line to follow to fill that vacancy. You cannot declare the highest polling unsuccessful candidate to be elected. The voters are entitled to decide in a separate process who will fill the vacancy caused by the withdrawal.
If the withdrawn candidate would not have been elected then no action is needed.
- If the withdrawal means that a voting election is no longer needed you must inform all voters
How do I confirm candidate and voter eligibility?
You do not need to do any in-depth investigation into a person’s eligibility to stand as a candidate when you receive their nomination. The candidates themselves decide whether they are eligible to stand. When they sign the nomination form they are making a statutory declaration and if this is proved to be incorrect they can be charged with the offence of making a false declaration.
Parents, legal guardians and caregivers of children enrolled at the school on the day the roll or the supplementary roll closes are entitled to vote. The most common questions deal with split and blended families, where one or both parents have new partners and there may or may not be shared custody.
Those eligible to vote in relation to any one student or group of siblings are:
- natural parents - mother and father
- legal guardians
- and in some cases a caregiver who is a member of the household, who is over 20 years of age and who gives more care to the child(ren) than any other person does.
A student is regarded as having no immediate caregiver if he/she:
- usually lives in a household that includes both parents;
- or spends approximately equal time in two or more households; or
- does not usually live in a household (for instance lives in a hostel).
What if no nominations are received for the staff representative position?
Check that staff members have been clearly advised on the nomination process and deadlines. If no nominations are received a casual vacancy occurs.
After that date it is an issue for the board. Encourage the board to contact NZSTA via the number or email address above.
We have 300 international students at our school. Do I really have to send the nomination and voting papers out to their parents as well as their immediate caregivers and legal guardians in New Zealand?
Yes, nomination and voting papers must be posted (by law they cannot, unfortunately, be emailed) to parents of all students under 20 years, enrolled full-time at the school. You would, therefore, include parents of foreign fee-paying students, regardless of where they live in the world.
Can a member of the community stand even if they are not a parent?
Yes, parent representatives do not need to be parents of students at the school (but they do have to be nominated by someone who is).
I’m getting questions from parents who want to stand for the board but are not New Zealand citizens. Are they eligible to be trustees?
People who are not New Zealand citizens are eligible to be trustees if they hold a permanent resident visa or a resident visa. They are also eligible if they hold a temporary visa (such as a work visa) that allows them to be in New Zealand for 12 months or more.
As the returning officer can I edit the candidate statements?
The returning officer can do so if these statements are seen to be defamatory, offensive or they are too long.
What happens if someone forgets to sign their nomination form?
It will be invalid, so you need to get back to this person as quickly as you can and get them to sign it before nominations close.
Can I email out nomination forms?
The election regulations require that nomination forms must be posted or personally delivered, as detailed in the Returning Officers’ Handbook 2019-2022. A notice must also be placed in a newspaper circulating in the area of the school to ensure people from the wider community are aware of the election and can put their names forward for nomination. If you email out nomination forms your election could be invalidated.