The purpose of the Taituarã Democracy and Participation Reference Group

  1. Assist the local government sector to achieve high standards in the conduct of democracy services and governance support activity.
  2. Assist the local government sector and governance professionals to achieve high standards in the planning, management and conduct of elections and polls under the Local Electoral Act 2001.
  3. In conjunction with other agencies, enhance public understanding of the role of local democracy within New Zealand’s system of governance, and public participation in local democracy.


  • Monitor the environment within which local authorities operate for relevant issues impacting on the democracy and governance support function including proposed legislative change and developments in overseas jurisdictions
  • Prepare and present submissions to appropriate organisations and Ministers representing local government sector concerns from a management and operational perspective.
  • Provide advice to local authorities on issues within its area of focus. This may involve the preparation of good practice guidance, tools and training
  • Participate in programmes that build community understanding of, and capacity to contribute to, the local democratic process.
  • Participate in, or undertake, national programmes to help promote awareness of and participation in the democratic process, subject to the approval of the Chief Executive.
  • Develop and maintain cooperative working relationships with the local government sector and other organisations that have related interests

View/download the Democracy and Governance Support Working Party Terms of Reference.

Current Members


David Ward, Chief Executive - Selwyn District Council


Jenni Cochrane, Communications Manager - Matamata-Piako District Council

Naell Crosby-Roe, Governance and Stakeholder Services Manager - Queenstown Lakes District Council

Carol Hayward, Team Leader Operations and Policy - Auckland Council

Courtney Hayward, Community and Engagement Manager - Wairoa District Council

Janice McDougall, Group Manager People and Partnerships - Kāpiti Coast District Council

Julie Straka, Governance Lead - New Plymouth District Council

Hannah White, Democracy Governance Manager - Palmerston North City Council

Rebecca Williams, Community Development Advisor - Central Otago District Council