The area has been governed by the Auckland Council since the Council was created in 2010. It is represented, along with the Hibiscus Coast to the north, by the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, one of two boards in the Albany ward of Auckland Region. From 1989 to 2010 it was part of North Shore City, until North Shore City Council was merged into the Auckland Council. Prior to the 1989 local body reforms, the area was a city in its own right, known as the City of East Coast Bays.
High schools in the area include Long Bay College and Rangitoto College, the largest high school in New Zealand with over 3,000 students between Year 9 and Year 13 of their schooling ('Form 3 to Form 7') attending in 2004.
East Coast Bays is also the name of an electorate from which an MP is elected to serve in the New Zealand Parliament. Its current MP is Murray McCully.