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What does it mean to be an elected member?

Considering standing? Check out the role descriptions below to help you understand what elected members are responsible for.

The Mayor

The mayor is elected by the district as a whole and, as one of the elected members, shares the same responsibilities as other members of the council. The mayor also has the following roles:

  • advocating on behalf and representing its best interests
  • spokesperson for the council
  • ceremonial head of the council
  • providing leadership and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing of committees
  • fulfilling the responsibilities of a Justice of the Peace (while the mayor holds office)
  • providing leadership to the other members of the council and the people of the area
  • leading the development of the council’s plans, policies, and budgets for consideration by the members of the council.

The Deputy Mayor

The mayor has the power to appoint the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor exercises the same roles as other elected members, and if the mayor is absent or incapacitated, the deputy mayor must perform all of the responsibilities and duties, and may exercise the powers, of the mayor.


  • Represent the interests of the council
  • Form the council’s strategic direction and priorities through the Long Term Plan (LTP), which determines the services and activities to be undertaken by council over a ten-year period
  • Decide where we spend our money and how we fund council activities
  • Oversee, develop and approve council policies, administrative, legal, financial, strategic and district planning
  • Monitoring the performance of council against its objectives and policies
  • Ensuring good use of council resources
  • Law-making (bylaws)
  • Employing, setting performance requirements for, and monitoring the on-going performance of the council’s Chief Executive.

All elected members are tasked with:

  • 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 council related issues
  • Maintaining contact with community representatives and other local stakeholders
  • Participating in consultation with the local community and/or other organisations

What makes a good elected member?

Council members are elected to represent the voices of their community by making decisions that act in their best interest. To do this effectively it helps to be a strong leader and communicator who can engage with a variety of different people and manage expectations.

Many of the decisions that Council makes are focused on the long-term so it helps to be a strategic thinker and a confident decision maker. You'll also need to be able to understand complex and technical information from project management concepts to financial reports.

Think you've got what it takes?

Download a copy of the nominations form via the links below: