NZARC recently received an enquiry on the subject of Annual Election Rules. The enquiry was referred to governance and compliance specialist Ralph Penning. It specifically concerned a situation where the president of an association ruled in advance of the annual general meeting that he would not allow any nominations from the floor. The enquirer questioned the legality of this ruling, as there was no provision in the constitution / rules on the form and procedure of nominations for elected office.

The advice given was that even in the absence of the provision, it did not prevent members (regardless of the number of prior nominations received) from putting forward further candidates, duly nominated and seconded from the floor. It was revealed that in this instance the number of nominations fitted the available vacancies. While this could have been a coincidence, it also gave rise to the possibility of cherry picking with the intention to limit competition and diversity. Clubs and societies without constitutional provisions to allow for this are well advised to review their processes with the necessary amendments as required.

With a noticeable reluctance of well qualified candidates to make themselves spontaneously available for election, shoulder tapping is becoming more common as a recruitment preference. Providing a good fit in terms of familiarity and cultural identity is acceptable, on the understanding that it does not exclude well qualified candidates, who may add diversity and new ideas.

If you would like any advice about your constitution, and if it has not been revisited for the past three years, we advise an independent evaluation to ensure it is keeping pace with the needs of your organisation.

If you would like to discuss your constitution please don’t hesitate to contact the NZARCT via phone 09 419 0042 or

The NZARCT is also in the process of seeking applications from prospective trustees and membership of its advisory panel based on these principles of good representation.