Do the homework before you vote
The local body elections are well underway and hopefully all have now received their voting papers.
Local Body Election turnout has been declining in many areas of New Zealand since the 1980s.
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) hopes that voter numbers will be above 50 per cent nationally for the first time since 1998.
It would be great if the South Waikato reached that level.
This election we have more candidates than I can ever remember.
That means we as voters have to do our homework.
Mr Yule, President of LGNZ has said in order to improve these statistics, the first step is to raise public awareness of the value of local government and the role it plays in the everyday lives of New Zealanders.
‘‘Our aim is to grow citizens’ understanding of the breadth of services delivered each day by local governments across New Zealand, and the impact those services have on their everyday lives.
‘‘By making that connection, we hope it inspires Kiwis to take a more proactive stance on the issues they care about in their communities,’’ says Mr Yule.
Our local Council has more impact on your daily life than central government has.
Water, sewage, footpaths, rubbish collection, parks and reserves, animal control, local roading and of course making sure that our finances are in order, while all the time keeping rates as low as possible, but still going forward - are all part of Council’s activities.
Our Council has been putting a lot of effort into economic development and it is reaping rewards like the Fonterra development, the road/rail hub, Blue Pacific, Urban connector and still fighting to keep us from being taken over by possible amalgamation.
Council is a $30 million business with over $100 million in assets and about 140 staff; and the Councillors you elect are effectively the Board of Directors.
They will be making policy decisions and under the guidance of the Chief Executivem the staff carry out the policies.
So as voters it is our duty firstly to thank and respect all those who have fronted up to serve our Council; and then examine, look beyond the promises and decide if that’s the person that will lead us forward.
‘‘Local government in New Zealand faces major challenges, from environmental issues to major infrastructure replacement, often in the face of demographic change.
‘‘We need to ensure elected representatives have the abilities, training and diversity of skills to rise to these challenges,’’ says Mr Yule.
We owe it to our children to examine all candidates and then vote. It’s your chance to shape our future.
South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair.