Elected Government Representative Māngai ā-Pōtitanga

Elected government representatives are elected by the people of a specific area to help govern a city, region or country.

Elected government representatives may do some or all of the following:

  • act on behalf of individuals or groups
  • study reports, proposals, complaints and petitions
  • present, debate and vote on new laws and policies 
  • attend meetings and public events, make speeches and give interviews
  • work with officials to develop policy.

Some elected government representatives also hold extra positions, such as junior or senior whip (who manage a political party's members of parliament).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for elected government representatives includes:

  • work as a local government representative
  • work as a union official or delegate
  • work for a political party or pressure group
  • debating experience.

Any work in economics, law, education or another specialist field, such as health or social work, is also useful.

Personal Qualities

Elected government representatives need to be:

  • trustworthy
  • motivated
  • confident
  • excellent communicators and debaters
  • skilled in making decisions
  • good at planning and organising
  • able to evaluate and interpret information
  • able to inspire confidence and trust in others.


Elected government representatives need to have knowledge of:

  • political, economic, social and cultural aspects of New Zealand
  • the region they are representing
  • official parliamentary procedures.

Knowledge of tikanga Māori (culture and customs) is also useful.


Elected government representatives:

  • usually work full time, though some, particularly community board members, work part time and do other jobs
  • work in offices, council chambers, at parliament and in the communities they represent
  • may travel around the country and internationally to attend parliament, conferences, seminars and meetings.

Elected Government Representatives can earn around $160K-$300K per year.

Pay for elected government representatives varies depending on their position.

Member of parliament earnings

Pay for members of parliament depends on their level of responsibility.

  • Members of parliament usually earn between $160,000 and $180,000 a year. 
  • Ministers can earn between $250,000 and $300,000.
  • The Prime Minister's salary is set at $470,000.

Members of parliament also get a yearly allowance to cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with their work, such as entertainment, meals and memberships.

Source: New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office, 2017.

Local government representative earnings

Pay for local government representatives depends on their responsibilities, hours and the size of their council.

  • Community board members usually earn between $2,000 and $47,000 a year.
  • Local and regional councillors usually earn between $13,000 and $108,000, but are paid more for extra responsibilities. 
  • Most mayors and regional council chairs can earn between $52,000 and $190,000. The mayor of Auckland is New Zealand's highest paid mayor and earns about $270,000 a year.

Source: New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office, 2018.

Elected government representatives may progress to become senior representatives of their council or political party.

Elected government representatives may specialise as a:

Member of Parliament
Members of parliament (MPs) represent the electorate in the House of Representatives (parliament). There are 70 electorate MPs, chosen by voters in the area, and 50 list MPs.
Local Government Representative
Local government representatives form a council, which includes a mayor or chairperson, or a community board. There are also local body board members, who represent the electorate on boards such as district health boards.

Years Of Training

To become an elected government representative, you need to be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a New Zealand citizen
  • enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll
  • elected by your electorate, or be elected from a party list.

Members of parliament representing a political party are chosen by the party for an electorate or a list seat.

Elected Government Representative