Party back­ing seen as way to boost voter turnout

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By AARON LEA­MAN

The coun­try’s left-wing po­lit­i­cal par­ties are not rul­ing out en­dors­ing Waikato can­di­dates in fu­ture lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

Hav­ing na­tional po­lit­i­cal par­ties stand can­di­dates in lo­cal races has been sug­gested as a way to re­verse fall­ing voter turnout lev­els.

Massey Univer­sity aca­demic Dr Andy Asquith, a lo­cal gov­ern­ment and pub­lic man­age­ment spe­cial­ist, said a dis­con­nect be­tween coun­cils and their con­stituents as well as con­fu­sion over the role of elected mem­bers had con­trib­uted to low voter turnouts.

Dr Asquith said there was no sil­ver bul­let to fix low turnouts but hav­ing na­tional politi- cal par­ties in lo­cal races would help vot­ers un­der­stand what can­di­dates stood for.

The Green Party en­dorsed 21 can­di­dates this elec­tion and Labour gave cam­paign­ing rights to can­di­dates in Auck­land, Wellington and Christchurch.

Green Party MP and lo­cal gov­ern­ment spokes­woman Eu­ge­nie Sage said that whether the party en­dorsed a Waikato can­di­date in the fu­ture de­pended on in­ter­est from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It re­ally does rely on in­di­vid­u­als want­ing to put them­selves for­ward, it’s not some­thing that would be im­posed from Wellington,’’ Ms Sage said.

Labour Party gen­eral sec­re­tary Tim Bar­nett said there was noth­ing stop­ping a Waikato can­di­date or group seek­ing cam­paign­ing rights from the party but the first move would have to come from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘The key thing is it’s lo­cally ini­ti­ated,’’ Mr Bar­nett said.

Na­tional Party gen­eral man­ager Greg Hamil­ton said the party had no plans to con­test lo­cal gov­ern- ment elec­tions.

Na­tional was fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing a stronger econ­omy through a sta­ble cen­tral gov­ern­ment, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.