Getting Effective Local Bodies

By Roger Childs

 … 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.

Local Government New Zealand Chief Executive Malcolm Alexander.

Get your votes in!

As of the end of September, less than 10% of Kapiti voters had done their voting. The deadline is Saturday 12 October at midday.

It is a much more complicated process than the parliamentary elections, but worth the effort. In summary, we are voting for

  • a mayor
  • 5 councillors for the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC)
  • 1 ward councillor
  • Community Board members
  • 1 regional councillor for the Wellington Regional Council
  • 7 board members for the Capital and Coast District Health Board

With the spectre of amalgamation in the Wellington Region hanging over us, who knows how many more local body elections we’ll have in this format.

Issues over the last few years

 As in every community around the country, we have had plenty of issues which have divided the residents. To name a few:

  • the Expressway
  • water meters
  • provision of reliable water supplies
  • the effects on coastal properties of a possible rise in sea level
  • spending on the new KCDC offices
  • the Kapiti Aquatic Centre.

When selecting a new mayor and councillors we need to weigh up how the incumbents, most of whom are standing again, have done. We also need to decide if new blood is needed to get the things done that we desire. Making decisions at the governance level is never easy and whatever is decided, not everyone is going to be happy.

Carrying out your democratic rights

 In a democracy, the important thing is to have your say in elections. Unfortunately history shows that only about 50% of those eligible actually bother to vote in New Zealand local body elections.

 We all have a booklet where every candidate spells out his or her

  • credentials
  • concerns
  • intentions if elected
  • views on particular issues.

Take the time to do the reading so that you can make informed decisions.

As Malcolm Alexander spells out,  It’s … 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.

 You’ve got until October 12, but don’t leave it too late!

You can deposit your completed voting forms at your nearest library.

 

(Also see Bianca on Leadership)