Mayor critical of $1.2 million campaign
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.