The Electoral Reference Group (ERG) provides advice on local body electoral matters to councils and electoral officers. 

The purpose of Taituarā’s Electoral Reference Group (ERG) is to assist the local government sector to achieve high standards in the planning, management and conduct of legislative requirements under the Local Electoral Act 2001 and Local Electoral Regulations 2001, and to give effect to Te Tiriti and Te Tiriti principles.

ERG meetings have representatives from the Ministry of Health, Department of Internal Affairs, Local Government New Zealand, the Electoral Commission, Local Government Commission, and New Zealand Post attending on a regular basis.


In giving effect to its purpose the ERG shall be specifically responsible for:

a. monitoring the environment within which local authorities operate for relevant issues impacting on electoral function including proposed legislative change and developments in overseas jurisdictions

b. preparing and presenting submissions representing local government sector concerns from a management and operational perspective to appropriate organisations and Ministers

c. providing advice to electoral officers on issues within its area of focus. This may involve the preparation of good practice guidance, tools and training

d. participate in or undertake national programmes to help promote awareness of and participation in local elections and polls collaboratively with Local Government New Zealand, subject to the approval of the Chief Executive

e. develop and maintain co-operative working relationships with the local government sector and other organisations that have related interests.

View/download the Electoral Reference Group Terms of Reference.

Current members


Dean Heiford, Manager Economic, Community & Support Services - Marlborough District Council


Mali Ahipene, Manager Democracy Services - Waikato Regional Council

James Baty, Director Internal Partnerships - Gisborne District Council

Rick Dunn, Deputy Electoral Officer, Governance & Democracy Advisor - Rotorua Lakes Council

Warwick Lampp, Business Development Manager -

Rose Leonard, Manager Governance Services - Auckland Council

Michael Morris, Member Deputy Electoral Officer, Legal Counsel - Invercargill City Council

Sarah Nichols, Governance Manager and Deputy Electoral Officer - Waimakariri District Council

Devorah Nicuarta-Smith, Member Deputy Electoral Officer, Manager Governance and Support Services - Nelson City Council

Dale Ofsoske, Managing Director - Election Services Ltd.

Jennifer Parker, Manager of Governance and Democracy Services & Deputy Electoral Officer - Wellington City Council

Jane Robertson, Electoral Officer, Senior Governance Advisor - Queenstown Lakes District Council

Clare Sullivan, Governance and Democracy Manager - Dunedin City Council