Is it time to bring in on­line vot­ing?

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - LAWRENCE GULLERY

‘‘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.

Con­tin­ues page 3.

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