Elec­tion race on in Mata­mata

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

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.

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