Petitioning Council

What is a petition?

A petition is a document addressed of the Kaipara District Council (Council) or one of its committees, signed by at least 20 signatories, asking Council or a Committee to act on something or investigate an issue that people are concerned about.  A petition is included as an agenda item of a Council or Committee meeting.


Who can petition?

Anyone of any age may petition Council, including individuals, businesses, clubs and community groups. Those representing a corporation or community group must include a signature from an authorised officer of the body or group.

Principal petitioner

The principal petitioner is usually the person who has initiated or organised the petition. This person will become the main point of contact for Council.

Should you petition?

Petitioning Council is not always the only course of action. Some matters can be investigated by an Ombudsman or other agencies.

To find out whether a matter is within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, go to 

Format of a petition

A petition must:

  • be in English or Te Reo Māori
  • contain fewer than 150 words (not including signatories)
  • include your request of Council, including any reasons as this can help people understand what you are asking them to sign
  • not be disrespectful, use offensive language or include malicious, inaccurate, or misleading statements

Council can request that any petition be translated and/or printed in another language.

What are the rules for signatures on petitions?

Petition rules for signatures are:

  • every page with signatures must have the full petition wording on it, this shows that people know what they are signing
  • signatures must include the persons full name alongside their signature
  • in the case of an electronic petition, the signatory must provide their email address in place of their signature
  • unless incapacitated, a person must sign a petition personally (a person signing on behalf of a person incapacitated must state this fact beside the signature)
  • signatures must be original (not photocopied, faxed, scanned, pasted, or otherwise transferred onto sheets of the petition).

What about privacy?

Petitions are presented at a Council meeting and therefore become public information. The name of the principal petitioner and the names and signatures of those who sign the petition will be publicly available.

If provided, contact details of the signatories, such as address, telephone numbers and email addresses will be withheld and not made publicly available.

Any contact details provided by the principal petitioner will be withheld from the public if requested.

When does the Council need to receive my petition?

Petitions must be received by the Chief Executive at least five (5) working days before the date of the meeting at which they will be presented.

Acceptance of petitions

The Council reserves the right to refuse a petition for the following reasons:

  • the petition is not within the jurisdiction of the Council*
  • the petition is not received in the required timeframe
  • the petition is repetitious or is similar to an earlier petition that has already been considered by the Council
  • the petition does not meet the ‘format of a petition’ as provided in Council’s Standing Orders**
  • the petition relates to the legal processes that the Council must follow (e.g. a resource consent or quasi-judicial process), or a matter Council is consulting on
  • the matter of the petition relates to a current consultation of Council, in which case the petition will be referred to that process

* if the matters in the petition falls outside the scope of the Council’s jurisdiction e.g. a matter for a court or tribunal, central government or the Office of the Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner, then the Principal Petitioner will be advised of this.

** If the petition is not in the proper format, it will be returned to the Principal Petitioner.

Presenting a petition

If the principal petitioner or one of the petition signatories wishes to be heard, this must be clearly stated when submitting the petition. Speakers on petitions are allowed a maximum of five minutes.

If the petition is presented by a councillor on behalf of the petitioners, the councillor may only read the petition, the statement of the parties from which it comes and the number of signatories attached to it.

If the petition is to be presented in Te Reo Māori or sign language, this needs to be advised to the Chief Executive at the same time the petition is received, ideally earlier to ensure appropriate services are able to be provided at the Council meeting.

Considerations of petitions by Council

The petition and what decision, if any, Council has resolved in relation to the petition is contained in the meeting minutes and is publicly available. The principal petitioner will be notified of the decision and what action will be taken.

Council’s general approach to petitions is that a staff report will be requested on the matter raised in the petition and will be presented at the next available Council meeting for consideration and any associated decisions or further direction.