Know your rights: Your right to get active in the local body elections

All New Zealanders, including all PSA members, have the democratic right to participate in the important upcoming local government and district health board elections.

Under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, PSA members including public servants, local government employees and district health board employees have the same rights as any other New Zealanders to be active in election campaigns.

You can stand as a candidate or actively campaign in support of a candidate or party. You have the right to actively support a political party or a candidate in the elections in your personal capacity, in your own time, using your own resources. This means you can help with fundraising, leaflet drops and any other kind of support.

The PSA will always encourage members to be active and informed citizens and defend the rights of members to be political.

To make it easier, we’ve developed the following guidance for members standing for election and for those who are actively involved in current campaigns.

Do: agree to do volunteer work for candidates, parties or groups who you support in the elections.

Do: feel free to express your political views through social media, but only in a private capacity and in your own time. In your social media profile, you might choose to make it clear that these are your views as a private individual and not mention where you work.

Do: attend public meetings or rallies in your own time (e.g. lunch breaks and after work).

Do: help with fundraising activities for a candidate or assist with leaflet drops in the community in your own time.

Don’t: use work printers to make campaign leaflets or posters, and don’t use work computers to receive or send political information.

Don’t: arrange to hold any meetings on your work premises.

Don’t: take on paid employment with a candidate or political party in the election without first checking, and ensuring you comply with, your employer’s policy on secondary employment.

Don’t: use or disclose information from your work.

Don’t: wear anything that identifies your employer at a public meeting or rally, or if you’re delivering leaflets in the community.

It’s important to note that some councils and district health boards have their own guidelines for involvement in election activity. They may be stricter than the law requires. If they are, you are not required to abide by them. We ask that you advise the PSA if this is the case so that we can seek to have them changed.

By the PSA Legal Beagles