Election Signage Policy


1.0    Purpose

This policy outlines the requirements for general and local election signage within the Timaru District.

2.0    Background

Signage relating to general and local elections is displayed in the Timaru District from time to time. This policy summarises key election signage requirements, under the:

  • Timaru District Consolidated Bylaw 2013 – Chapter Two Public Places
  • Timaru District Plan 2005 Rule 6.15 Signs
  • Electoral (Advertisements of a Specified Kind) Regulations 2005
  • Local Electoral Act 2001
  • Electoral Act 1993
  • NZ Transport Agency requirements for placing signs near or adjacent to a state highway

    Any signage related to elections within the Timaru District must comply with these requirements.  The above requirements should be consulted in the case of any doubt.

3.0    Key Definitions

  • Sign – includes every advertising device or advertising matter of whatever kind whether consisting of a specially constructed device or structure, painted, fixed to or upon any premises, wall, fence, rock, stone, structure, stationary vehicle, or erection of any kind (Definition - Timaru District Plan 2005).
  • Election – any general or local election (e.g. parliamentary, District Health Board, Council).
  • Public Place - includes every road, street, public highway, footpath, footway, court, alley, lane, accessway, and thoroughfare of a public nature or open to or used by the public as of right; and every place of public resort or place to which the public have access, so open or used (Definition - Timaru District Council Consolidated Bylaw 2013).
  • Referendum – any central or local government or citizen initiated referendum
  • Temporary Sign - signage defined in terms of the Timaru District Plan and the Timaru District Consolidated Bylaw.  In general, it refers to a  sign erected for a limited period of time.

4.0    Policy

  • Council’s policy for election and referendum advertising is to grant a blanket approval subject to conditions in Chapter Two of the Timaru District Bylaw and Timaru District Plan 2005
  • All signs relating to an election or referendum are regarded as temporary signs under the District Plan and Consolidated Bylaw
  • All signage must be displayed to ensure public safety
  • The display of temporary election signage does not require a Resource Consent
  • All local election signage must be authorised in accordance with the requirements of the Local Electoral Act 2001

4.1    Placement of Signs

Temporary signs related to elections may only be displayed on private property provided they meet the requirements of this policy and have the private property owner’s permission before signs are raised on the property.

Temporary signs related to elections are not permitted:

  • on any reserves or roadsides
  • to be attached in any way to power or telephone poles or to fences on any public property
  • on or adjacent to a road which will:
    • Obstruct the line of sight of any corner, bend, intersection or vehicle crossing
    • Obstruct, obscure or impair the view of any traffic sign or signal
    • Resemble or be likely to be confused with any traffic sign or signal
    • Use reflective materials that may interfere with a road users vision
    • Use intermittent or revolving lights.

All election signage must also comply with the latest New Zealand Transport Agency requirements for placing signs near or adjacent to state highways. Currently, these are:

In rural areas (where speed limits are 70km/h or above):

  • Signs should be located off the highway reserve. You will need to consult with property owners and the appropriate local authority to gain any necessary consent.
  • Signs must not be reflectorised or erected in such a location that will create an obvious conflict with existing road signs.
  • Signs must not imitate or be of a form similar to any traffic signs. (This is a legal requirement in terms of the Land Transport Act 2003).
  • The location of signs must give consideration to visibility and other traffic safety aspects.
  • Signs must be located at least 200m from intersections, bends in the highway and from other regulatory signs
  • Signs are not permitted on or adjacent to motorways.

Signs erected on rural State Highways in a location or manner likely to cause distraction or danger to road users may be removed by NZTA or its agents without prior notice. Where a sign is removed the party will then be advised of the action taken and that the sign may be redeemed for a fee of $50 to cover NZTA costs.

For the above noted safety reasons, vehicle mounted signs situated on State Highways are not permitted.

4.2    Timeframes for erection of signs

Temporary signs for local elections shall not be erected more than six (6) weeks before the event, nor remain erected more than one (1) week following completion of the event.  Local election signage is not required to be removed prior to election day.

Under the Electoral Act 1993, signage for general elections can be displayed two months before election day and must be removed by midnight on the day before election day.

Explanatory note: For the 2023 general election, electoral signage is permitted to be erected at any time before election day

4.3    Specifications for Signs

Temporary signs related to elections shall not exceed the maximum total area of 3 square metres.  In the case of double signed signs, the area of the sign shall be calculated as being that visible from one direction only. (Timaru District Plan).

Internally and externally temporary signs related to elections shall not exceed the maximum luminance as set out in the following table:

Maximum luminance of externally or internally illuminated signs

Illuminated area (m2)

Areas with street lighting

Areas without street lighting

Up to 0.520001000
0.5 to 2.01600800
2.0 to 5.01200600
5.0 to 10.01000600
Over 10.0800400

Note: All luminances in the table are in candelas per square metre.

4.4    Non-Compliance

This policy, where it relates to the Timaru District is monitored and enforced by the Environmental Services Unit. Timaru District Council can remove a sign immediately that:

  • is unsafe
  • does not meet the requirements of the policy

Where a temporary sign related to elections is considered by Council not to comply with this policy, the candidate or candidate’s agent will be contacted directly by Council and requested to resolve the issue. This must be resolved within 1 day of contact.

If the non-compliance continues beyond 1 day, the offending sign will be removed and enforcement costs may apply.

Signage relating to the State Highway network, as summarised under 4.1 will be monitored and enforced by the NZ Transport Agency.

Adopted Policy & Development Committee 1 December 2015

Last updated: 19 Jul 2023