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Illustration: Ezra Whittaker-Powley
Illustration: Ezra Whittaker-Powley

Local Elections 2022August 31, 2022

Huge news: is back, beaming a torch through the election fog

Illustration: Ezra Whittaker-Powley
Illustration: Ezra Whittaker-Powley

Almost 600 separate local elections are hurtling towards us. What to do? Introducing, the complete guide to the 2022 local government elections.

Five years ago, launched on a fledgling independent website called The Spinoff. The brainchild of a group of determined and smart young people from Wellington who had apparently overcome the human requirement to sleep, emerged at the same time as a range of other “tools” to help voters navigate the choppy seas of electoral democracy. It was – if you ask me – easily the best; instead of attempting to magic up via some secret internet sauce the party you should vote for, it provided a way to consider your options up against one another – a streamlined, coherent, plain-language means to inform your choice. 

When Ollie and Asher said they wanted to repeat the exercise for the 2019 local elections, I thought they were kidding. Or at least figured they’d limit the project to the mayoralties and the major councils. But, no. In keeping with their faintly deranged commitment to the glories of the franchise, they produced the local version of, ratcheted up for a mind-boggling 572 elections across the country. And now it’s back again, sleeker and better. This time, in the year 2022: 583 elections.

More than 100 of those elections, lamentably, are uncontested, making it a stroll to victory for almost 300 candidates. The lack of competition for seats across most of the country is mirrored in a lack of voter turnout. That creates a vulnerability, which – as won’t have escaped your notice already – some are looking to exploit. More than ever, then, it’s critical (a) to vote, and (b) to have the facts in front of you when you do. is here to help. Non-partisan, crisp, accessible. 

Enter your address at and you’ll see which elections you get to vote in, with the rival candidates’ pitches side by side. You can see each candidate’s positions together, or sort by topic. About 65,000 people used the site three years ago. 

If you’re standing in one of those elections and provided your email address on your nomination form, you should have an email in your inbox inviting you to undertake the short form so that you feature in the exercise. If for whatever reason you don’t have that email and you want people to know what you’re about, please email immediately.

A reminder: voting papers are being sent out between September 16 and 21. 

Google News Initiative is the lead supporter of – 2022 local elections edition, with further backing from Greenlight Ventures and Addy. The Spinoff’s local elections coverage is supported by the Public Interest Journalism Fund. is a partner organisation in Local Government New Zealand’s VOTE2022 campaign.

For more on and how it works, you’ll find the FAQ here. Get exploring.

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