21 September 2017
Improvements for schools running board elections
The Ministry of Education (Ministry) and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) are trialling a new way of
running board of trustee elections to streamline the process and reduce the workload on individual schools.
The Ministry and NZSTA are proposing to trial New Zealand (NZ) Post’s Votext election management process in the December
2017 mid-term elections to provide a greater level of support to returning officers.
“Elected Boards are a key feature of our school system. We want to raise the standard and quality of the democratic
process and make it as easy as possible for people to get involved,” says Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector
Enablement and Support.
“Feedback following the last Board elections found that board chairs, principals and returning officers think the system
is out of date and cumbersome. They want a better process. The 2017 mid-term elections are a chance to trial Votext on a
smaller scale than in the board of trustees’ triennial elections.”
Votext was developed by NZ Post for use in local body elections, and manages the end-to-end process. It creates voting
papers, prints candidate information, manages mail distribution and counts the votes. It was used in the 2013 and 2016
local body elections.
It will make life easier for returning officers by removing a lot of manual processing and paperwork and provides
economies of scale across the sector. An online tool for returning officers will manage the collation of nomination and
“The bar-coding of material through printing and distribution reduces errors and provides traceability for each
individual voting paper and envelope from distribution to the household and back to the vote counting process,” says
Ms Casey says NZSTA has been in contact with the 300 plus school boards involved to provide information on Votext and
how it can assist schools and returning officers in the 2017 elections. Schools will be given the choice to opt out of
the trial if they wish.