Mayor crit­i­cal of $1.2 mil­lion cam­paign

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

A $1.2 mil­lion Auck­land Coun­cil cam­paign en­cour­ag­ing the pub­lic to vote in last year’s lo­cal body elec­tions has been crit­i­cised by Mayor Phil Goff.

The ‘Show Your Love for Auck­land’ cam­paign came un­der fire from a range of re­cently elected politi­cians at a coun­cil meet­ing on Thurs­day.

In the meet­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil­lors out­lined an 18 per cent in­crease in voter turnout from peo­ple be­tween 18 and 24 years old and a 17 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of In­dian and Chi­nese vot­ers.

Show Your Love was cre­ated in an at­tempt to get more peo­ple to vote af­ter only a 35.5 per cent voter turnout in 2013, down from 51 per cent in 2010.

De­spite the cam­paign Auck­land’s 2016 voter turn out re­mained at 35 per cent.

Coun­cil­lor Mike Lee was criti- cal of the coun­cil-funded cam­paign.

‘‘The theme of love didn’t res­onate with lo­cal govern­ment,’’ Lee said.

In par­tic­u­lar Lee said an ed­u­cat­ing Kombi van called the ’Love Bus’ wasn’t the most ef­fec­tive use of fund­ing.

Mayor Phil Goff said the bus didn’t do any­thing for him ei­ther.

‘‘I saw the bus at Sylvia Park on the open­ing of a big de­part­ment store and there were thou- sands of peo­ple there but the bus was 300 me­tres away from the crowds and I was the only per­son talk­ing to [its] staff,’’ Goff said.

The pre­sen­ta­tion was ‘‘a lit­tle op­ti­mistic’’ about voter turnout, but Goff said the blame didn’t lie with coun­cil of­fices.

He said the next elec­tion would re­quire think­ing lat­er­ally and he ad­vo­cated tak­ing pol­i­tics to schools and churches.

‘‘Schools shy away from ac­tual prac­ti­cal pol­i­tics. What we should be do­ing is en­cour­ag­ing all the can­di­dates to put their case to the kids.’’

Goff said for low vot­ing ar­eas like Otara or Man­gere the coun­cil should take the bal­lot box to churches.

The pre­sen­ta­tion said many peo­ple who did not vote would have done so if on­line vot­ing was avail­able

It also also rec­om­mended mov­ing vot­ing for DHBs away from lo­cal elec­tions to lessen con­fu­sion.

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