Last few days to vote
Monday, 7 October 2013 10:34 a.m.
This month, Bay of Plenty residents will elect District Council, Regional Council and District Health Board members for the next three years. With only a few days to go until voting closes, Eastern Bay of Plenty Territorial Authorities are joining forces to remind voters to have their say before noon on Saturday 12 October.
To date, statistics are indicating lower than normal voter turnout, and if that trend continues, it will have a number of impacts on local residents.
Whakatāne District Council Chief Executive, Marty Grenfell, says every resident has a stake in the elections. “Local government is responsible for so many things we take for granted in the community – local roading, water supplies, wastewater treatment and disposal, rubbish and recycling, pools, libraries, cemeteries, and in the case of the Regional Council, harbours, the environment and economic development. How Councils prioritise spending on all those issues should matter to anyone who pays rates,” Mr Grenfell says.
Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie, agrees. “Residents need to exercise their democratic right in the same way they do for general elections – all the same considerations apply but at a local level. The impact of your vote is much more obvious in a small community, so your vote matters much more. There is no point forgetting to vote and complaining later that you haven’t got the outcome you want,” she says.
There are many ways for the public to get information about candidates in their area. All Council websites have candidate information online. You can also visit vote.co.nz, enter your postcode and a list and details of all the candidates standing in your area will be provided. The voting papers sent to registered voters also include candidate information.
“Our civic leaders set our strategic direction and help determine our future. It is a missed opportunity to not have your say this month,” Kawerau District Council Chief Executive, Russell George says.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chief Executive, Mary-Anne Macleod adds her voice to the call to encourage people to vote before the weekend.
“The more people who vote means more interests are represented on our Councils and Boards. It validates the decisions of our elected representatives and means that they genuinely represent the wider community. We need to give our Councils a genuine mandate to act on our behalf.”
This is the last opportunity for three years for voters to decide who will represent them in a wide range of activities and functions across the region. The DHB makes important decisions on the provision of health services in our district. District Councils are responsible for everything from rubbish, water, pools, events and activities, to public buildings, Civil Defence and dogs registrations. The Regional Council takes a long term view to guide and support the sustainable development of the Bay of Plenty, as caretakers of the Bay’s land, air and water resources.
Voting closes at midday on Saturday 12 October 2013 and you can deliver your vote in person or post it in the prepaid envelope supplied. For any questions about voting, call the Election Hotline, Freephone 0508 440 0011. If you haven’t received your voting papers, you are still able to visit your local district council offices and cast a special vote.