Members Roles and Conduct
This page outlines the the Mayor and Councillors' roles and responsibilities.
The Mayor and the Councillors of the Porirua City Council have the following roles:
- setting the policy direction of Council
- monitoring the performance of the Council
- representing the interests of the City (on election all members must make a declaration that they will perform their duties faithfully and impartially, and according to their best skill and judgement in the best interests of the City)
- employing the Chief Executive (under the Local Government Act the Council employs the Chief Executive, who in turn employs all other staff on behalf of the Council).
Role of the Mayor
The Mayor is elected by the City as a whole and, as one of the elected members, shares the same responsibilities as other members of Council. In addition the Mayor has the following roles:
- Presiding member at Council meetings. The Mayor is responsible for ensuring the orderly conduct of business during meetings (as determined in Standing Orders).
- Advocate on behalf of the community. This role may involve promoting the community and representing its interests. Such advocacy will be most effective where it is carried out with the knowledge and support of the Council.
- Ceremonial head of Council.
- Providing leadership and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing committees.
Role of the Deputy Mayor
The Deputy Mayor is elected by the members of Council at the first meeting of the Council. The Deputy Mayor exercises the same roles as other elected members. In addition, if the Mayor is absent or incapacitated, or if the office of Mayor is vacant, then the Deputy Mayor must perform all of the responsibilities and duties, and may exercise the powers of the Mayor (as summarised above).
The Deputy Mayor may be removed from office by resolution of Council.
Role of Committee Chairperson
The Council may create one or more committees of Council. A committee chairperson is responsible for presiding over meetings of the committee, ensuring that the committee acts within the powers delegated by Council. A committee chairperson may be removed from office by resolution of Council.
Legislation Regarding Conduct for Elected Members
Elected members have specific obligations as to their conduct under the following legislation:
- Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002, which includes obligations to act as a good employer in respect of the Chief Executive and to abide by the current Code of Conduct and Standing Orders
- Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968, which regulates the conduct of elected members in situations where there is, or could be, a conflict of interest between their duties as an elected member and their financial interests (either direct or indirect)
- Secret Commissions Act 1910, which prohibits elected members from accepting gifts or rewards which could be seen to sway them to perform their duties in a particular way
- Crimes Act 1961, regarding the acceptance of gifts for acting in a certain way and the use of official information for private profit.
- Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013: an elected member is in the same position as a company director if the council offers financial products such as debt or equity securities. An elected member can be held personally liable if documents that are registered under the Act, such as a disclosure statement, contains false or misleading statements.
- Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The Act encourages a proactive approach to managing the risk that business operations might prevent someone from coming home from work healthy and safe each day. The Act gives an elected member a duty of due diligence in their role as an 'officer', to ensure that the entity of Porirua City Council complies with its health and safety duties as a PCBU (Person conducting a Business or Undertaking). While elected members carry the due diligence responsibility for health and safety governance, they are exempt from personal liability for the offences of reckless conduct or failure to comply with a duty relating to their due diligence obligations.
All elected members are required to adhere to a Code of Conduct. Adopting such a Code is a requirement of the Local Government Act 2002. The Code sets out the Council’s understanding and expectations of how the Mayor and Councillors will relate to one another, to staff, to the media and to the general public in the course of their duties. It also covers disclosure of information that is received by or is in the possession of elected members, and contains details of the sanctions that the Council may impose if an individual breaches the Code.
Links to more information
Porirua City Council Links: