News from LGNZ
New Zealanders need to make the effort to vote in the up-coming local body elections if they want to participate in on-going debate around how their regions are led and governed, says Local Government New Zealand chief executive Malcolm Alexander.
“The old saying about getting what you pay for applies to voting – we get the leaders we vote for,” said Mr Alexander, who heads the peak body representing the New Zealand’s local authorities.
“So all eligible voters should have their say via the ballot box to get the people they want around council tables. That’s much more effective than not voting and spending the next three years writing letters to the editor complaining about elected members’ priorities.”
Voting papers for city, district and regional councils will be posted out to eligible voters from tomorrow and must be returned – posted or hand delivered – in time to reach the relevant electoral officer by midday on 12 October.
“This is your opportunity as a citizen to play a part in electing the people who will make the important decisions about how public resources will be allocated.
“Local government shapes the place that you live. It’s the pavements you walk on, the roads where you drive, the water in your shower, and the parks, libraries and swimming pool where you take the kids.
“It’s also about culture, sports events, economic development and much more, and every quarter you will be sent a rates bill to pay for these services run by local government. It is your democratic right to take part in electing those members who best reflect the values and local priorities of the community you live in.”
The average turnout for local authority elections in New Zealand is 50 per cent – and research has shown that a large proportion of people who do not vote intend to do so but are simply too busy or forget.
“I would encourage people to vote as soon as possible after receiving your voting papers in the post,” said Mr Alexander.
“Don’t put them to one side or stick them to the fridge where they will get covered up by other stuff. Sit down and fill them in as soon as you can, then post them back.
“By voting you can make a real difference and give your support to those candidates who have the values and policies to strengthen local economies and revitalise our communities.”
Further information about the elections, including the candidates standing in your area, how to fill in voting papers and how the STV and other voting systems work, is available at www.elections.org.nz.
If you are not enrolled you may still vote, however, you will need to contact your local electoral officer in order to make a casting vote.