Sep 16, 2013

The hitchhikers guide to the local elections

Here’s my approach to voting: if there are two equally competent candidates, what’ll swing my vote is if one of the candidates is Maori, Pasifika, Asian, female or under 30. Maori, other ethnic minorities, women and young people are underrepresented in local government.

Local elections run from the 20th of September to the 12th of October. Consensus politics rules in local government, but without diversity consensus becomes a synonym for the politics of the middle-aged-white-male. When Maori, other ethnic minorities, women and young people aren’t represented, their (and our) interests aren’t properly served. That’s why you should count ethnicity, gender and age as a persuasive factor.

Now - if you’re unsure who you’re going to vote for - let me help:


Tracey Godfery for Bay of Plenty Regional Council

That’s my mum, obviously. She’s standing in the Kohi Maori seat. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is one of the few local authorities with dedicated Maori representation. That means it’s important that we make it work.

The Kohi seat needs renewal. Local government's often burdened with time servers whose name recognition trumps their competence. I’ll make a personal guarantee: my mum is qualified, ready and competent. But maybe I'm biased.

Mum has a background in environmental education, research and management. At the moment she teaches environmental science at Awanuiarangi. The issues that are important to her are cleaning up contaminated land – including Maori land that's contaminated with PCP and dioxin – fresh water management, resource management and tangata whenua, economic development and accountability. For a better run down you can like here Facebook page.

To vote for her you have to be enrolled in the Kohi district and on the Maori roll. 

Warwick Godfery for Kawerau District Council

That’s my dad, obviously. He’s standing for the Kawerau District Council. The same guarantee: my dad is qualified, ready and competent.

There isn't much more I can add. If you’re reading this in Kawerau, you know who he is. But I'll make this point: it’s important to vote for people who live in the district. A councillor can’t properly serve the district (or the ward) when he or she lives in, say, Ohope or Rotorua.

You can like dad’s Facebook page here. He’s about bridging the gaps. There’s an age deficit and a cultural deficit between the Kawerau District Council and the Kawerau community. Dad will help repair that deficit.

Jack Tautokai McDonald for the Paekakariki Local Board

Again, competence is important. Jack has proved his competence. Diversity should be a touchstone to guide your vote too. Jack brings two important qualities to local government: his Maoritanga and his age. Government – whether it’s local or central – should reflect the community. When it doesn’t disengagement and apathy happens. I’ll let Jack take it from here:

A lifelong Paekakariki resident, I’m eager to be a voice for the community and contribute to the Board’s work and advocacy. 
If elected, I will focus on fighting for our local democracy and ensuring community concerns are listened to, providing opportunities for youth, restoration of our local environment and fostering a strong partnership with the mana whenua; Ngati Haumia ki Paekakariki, Ngati Toarangatira and Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai. 
My experience in governance and representation includes serving on Kapiti College’s Board of Trustees, the Green Party’s National Executive and as a Youth MP.

Other voting suggestions

This isn't an exhaustive list, but a guide for wavering voters. If you want me to add your name to the list flick me an email, tweet, or a Facebook PM.

Kawerau Dsitrict Council

Miriama Postlethwaite 
Chris Marjoribanks
Faylene Tunui
Peta Ruha
Grace Stone
Stephen Tuhoro

Whakatane District Council

Fioana Wiremu (who's also standing for mayor).

Rotorua District Council 

Steve Chadwick

Gisborne District Council

Manu Caddie
Meredith Akuhata-Brown

Waikato Regional Council 

Tipa Mahuta (standing in the Nga Hau E Wha Maori constituency)
Chris Webster (standing in the Nga Tai Ki Uta Maori constituency)

Henderson-Massey Local Board

Will Flavell

Tauranga City Council

Delwyn Walker

Wellington City Council - Southern Ward

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