Have your say in this year’s local elections

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Local elections are well underway. It’s no secret that voter turnout at this level is notoriously low. In 2013, only 43% of eligible voters voted in Christchurch’s City Council elections.

Perhaps that figure shouldn’t be surprising. Footpaths, sewage and rubbish don’t always make for the most rousing election issues no matter their importance. However, local politics matters. Councils across New Zealand manage more than $96 billion in fixed assets and contribute more than $8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP each year. Good local governance is at the heart of the prosperity of our local communities and growth at a national level. Every day our local representatives make important decisions. These decisions impact whether our public transport and roads allow us to easily get to work on time, whether our children have quality parks, pools and libraries to enjoy, and whether we have vibrant culture and community that attracts locals and tourists alike.

The role of local governance is particularly important in Christchurch. With regeneration underway, it is essential we have local representatives who will continue to work constructively and enthusiastically with central government to ensure Christchurch is a thriving city in which to work, live and play.

I appreciate we’re all rather time-poor these days, but please do take the time to read about the candidates standing for our councils and boards. You might not think your vote will make a difference to who wins or loses but it can. When I ran for the Banks Peninsula Ward in 2013, I missed out by five votes. Every vote really can count, and it’s important to have your say in who will champion you and your community.

In just over a week your voting papers will arrive in your letterbox. Who you vote for is your choice, but please make the choice to vote.