Election race on in Matamata
What has happened in local politics the last three years?
Matamata is the only ward where there will be a local government election for the MatamataPiako District Council.
Five people have put their names forward to contest the four seats available.
Mayor Jan Barnes has already been re-elected unopposed and is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Matamata Ward election.
This is in contrast to the 2013 elections, where there were five people vying for the mayoral seat, seven councillor candidates for the Morrinsville Ward (four seats), six for Te Aroha (three seats) and the largest pool of eight candidates in the Matamata Ward.
Three candidates were existing councillors all up for re-election, (in order of most votes received) Leonie Tisch with 2828 votes, Garry Stanley with 2192 votes and Bob McGrail with 2018 votes.
The fourth to be elected in 2013 was newcomer Brian Hunter, who on election day came in with the second largest pool of votes after Tisch with 2568 votes.
Councillors Tisch, McGrail and Stanley have all stepped down from local government politics this year, leaving Cr Hunter the only candidate to stand for reelection.
New comers Kevin Tappin, Adrienne Wilcock, Joanne Aoake, and James Sainsbury have stepped forward as candidates for Matamata. Both Tappin and Sainsbury were unsuccessful at the 2013 election.
Tappin received 1980 votes, just 30 votes behind Cr McGrail, with Sainsbury trailing with 1023 votes.
Cr Hunter says there are pros and cons to the three long-term councillors standing down. The district lose experience however council will gain fresh ideas from a new pool of councillors.
There will be no election in Te Aroha and Morrinsville as the number of candidates matches the number of seats available and so Cr Hunter is glad the Matamata Ward will still stand as a contest.
‘‘We have an election, and that’s healthy.’’
Earlier this year, Local Government New Zealand launched a campaign to arrest plummeting voter turnout at local government elections and to encourage more people to stand as candidates in their communities.
Local government election voter turnout has been on the slide since the 1980s. Some councils experienced a doubledigit percentage point drop in voter turnout at the 2013 election.
Voting papers for the 2016 elections will be sent out September 16. Voting papers must be received by the Electoral Officer by midday, October 8.
‘‘The district lose experience however council will gain fresh ideas from a new pool of councillors.’’
Vietnam veterans and their families gather at Ruapeka Marae. Below: The Roll of Honour at the marae.