Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - Deb­bie Jamieson

The leap in the num­ber of vot­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in our lo­cal body election this year is sig­nif­i­cant. Re­turns are up about 10 per cent across Queen­stown, Wanaka and Cen­tral Otago, to 54.1 per cent in Queen­stown Lakes and a huge 62 per cent in Cen­tral Otago.

But these fig­ures are still not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of our com­mu­ni­ties and nei­ther are the peo­ple elected. At least half should be women and they are not. It is also in­ter­est­ing to re­flect on the lack of eth­nic di­ver­sity.

Ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics NZ around 75 per cent of the Queen­stown Lakes District pop­u­la­tion and 80 per cent of Cen­tral Otago is of European eth­nic­ity. That leaves up to a quar­ter of our pop­u­la­tion un­rep­re­sented around the coun­cil ta­ble.

Where is the rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the Maori com­mu­nity? The sig­nif­i­cant Asian, Pa­cific and Latin Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tions? We have to find ways to bet­ter rep­re­sent the peo­ple we have be­come.

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