a. The expected conduct of elected members is contained in the two principles and in the attachments.
b. The two principles are:
Trust principle – the community trusts elected members to conduct themselves ethically and act in the community’s interest. An elected member will:
- make decisions on their merits, in the interests of the public and unaffected by illegitimate considerations such as personal interest or other duties or relationships
- disclose personal and outside interests, relationships and duties
- declare a conflict of interest and step aside from a decision when unable to approach a decision on its merits or it might appear the member will not approach a decision on its merits, in the interests of the public and unaffected by a personal or outside interest, relationship or duty
- when making decisions, have an open mind to the views of others and to alternatives, and be prepared, despite any predisposition, to change their mind
- ensure the member is not under an obligation to those who might inappropriately try to influence them in the performance of their duties
- be accountable for the decisions they make and enable appropriate public scrutiny
- make an equitable contribution, including attending meetings and workshops, preparing for meetings, attending civic events, and participating in relevant training seminars
- act and make decisions openly and transparently
- be truthful and demonstrate honesty and integrity
- use council resources prudently and lawfully and not for their own purposes
- uphold the law, and promote and support high standards of conduct by leadership and example
- comply with the policies and protocols adopted with the Code
Respect principle - a member will respect the people the member works with: other elected members, staff and the public. An elected member:
- encourages mutual respect and maintains the dignity of each individual
- recognises others’ roles and responsibilities
- is inclusive
- enables the co-existence of individual and collective responsibility
- allows for robust discussion and debate focusing on issues rather than personalities
- is not derogatory
- encourages thoughtful analysis
- maintains public confidence in the office to which I have been elected
- is open and honest
- maintains the confidentiality of confidential information provided to me
- complies with the policies and protocols adopted with the Code
c. The attachments to the Code are:
- Conflict of interest policy – sets out the tests, and the requirements to declare, financial and non-financial conflicts of interest; and the tests for, and consequences of, predetermination.
- Confidential information, policy and protocol – sets out the need to manage the distribution of confidential information to those who need to know it and provides a protocol for elected members to use when requesting confidential information.
- Working with staff – sets out the requirement for elected members to treat staff with respect.
- Election year policy – sets out the principles that apply in an election year, particularly around elected members’ use of council resources.
- Communications policy – acknowledges that council funds can be used by the council to communicate with its communities and sets out principles that apply such as not being used to give an elected member undue prominence, particularly in an election year.
- Media protocols – sets out that the mayor is the spokesperson for the Governing Body, committee chairs the spokespersons for committees and local board chairs the spokespersons for their local boards but provides for individual members to give their personal views to media if they make it clear it is their personal view.
- Social media guidelines – provides guidance on dealing with abuse and notes issues around members using social media in their official capacity.
- Governance roles and responsibilities – explains the various roles held by elected members.
- Expenses policy – sets out expenses members are entitled to claim; it is relevant to conduct but is adopted separately.
- Legislation relevant to the conduct of members – summarises various legislation that is relevant to elected member conduct:
- Local Government Act 2002
- Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009
- Local Authorities (Members Interests) Act 1968
- Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
- Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
- Secret Commissions Act 1910
- Crimes Act 1961
- Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013
- Public law decision-making principles
- Council decision-making requirements
- Personal liability of elected members