Is it time to bring in online voting?
‘‘Having a voter return of about 23 per cent is very poor and it's something which needs to be addressed.’’
Poor voter turnout has presented itself as an immediate challenge for new councillors elected to the Matamata Ward, of the MatamataPiako District Council.
Just 3129 voting papers were returned for the Matamata Ward, or 34.82 per cent of the nearly 9000 electors able to vote in the 2016 elections.
Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes, who was elected unopposed, said it was time for the country to move towards online voting.
‘‘We need to do that so everyone can have their say. Having a [preliminary] voter return of about 23 per cent is very poor and it’s something which needs to be addressed.’’
Three new faces representing Matamata will join Barnes on the council for the next three years.
First-time councillors Adrienne Wilcock, Kevin Tapin and James Sainsbury join incumbent councillor Brian Hunter as the successful candidates.
Candidate Joanne Aoake was the fifth highest polling candidate, missing out on one of the four seats with the lowest number of votes, 1398.
It was only about 300 behind the next highest polling candi- date, Sainsbury, who recorded 1776.
Tappin recorded 2075 votes and Wilcock was next with 2139. Hunter was the highest polling candidate with 2364 votes.
Most of the candidates celebrated the end of the election at Barnes’ home on Saturday evening.
Barnes said she was ‘‘absolutely delighted’’ to have a ‘‘full house’’ of councillors across Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha.
But she also recognised the skills and knowledge of Joanne Aoake and hoped the candidate would find other avenues to become involved with council over the next three years.
‘‘I am sad for Joanne, I thought it would have been great to have an iwi representative on council.
‘‘But I think she just needs to continue to her work so more people get to know her,’’ Barnes said.
Sainsbury and Wilcock backed Barnes’ call for online voting.
‘‘It’s a question which is often asked, why people don’t vote,’’ said Wilcock.
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