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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Local Body Elections - VOTE or don't....


I posted a short version of my reflections on the local body elections on my FB page, with my wonderings around how on earth a voter is meant to know who these people are.   I felt the need to elaborate further.

It is not so difficult for me - I know some of the candidates, I have worked with some of them and I understand where they lean politically and how effective they are.
Thats helpful - well for me it is.  (And Techno Man - who had me sort it for him on account of having more knowledge - it was that or not vote at all for him so of course I was happy to oblige)

But, what about the general Joe Blogg/Bloggess Public?  

Its quite a conundrum.

Sure, there is an election handbook with all the candidates profiles.
Thats helpful.

These profiles outline why each candidate is running, what they are interested in and what promises they are making (in some cases these are so 'pie in the sky' you have more chance of winning the lottery than ever having them come to fruition).
So, that is helpful.

There is a photo of each candidate.
For some people, I am sure that this is a little helpful.   A face to the name and all.

Some of the candidates also outline if they are affiliated to a particular group or if they are independent.
To a degree thats helpful.

The candidates have to state if they live in the ward they are running for, and if they are running for more than one Board.
This is very helpful - IF you understand why it is helpful.

But - and its a big BUT, if you don't know which way they lean politically, all this information is pretty mindless.  It involves reading lots of bios, and making judgements on what is quite frankly - very little information.

The District Health Board candidates have to declare their conflicts of interests.
That is useful and helpful information.

All of this useful information and you would think this would help you make an informed decision.  Well, you would hope so.

For me it just does not tell me what I am desperate to know.

I want to know which way each candidate leans.  Are they left wing or right wing, or do they swing to the middle.  As a leftie - I don't want to vote for the far right - in fact I want to see some more liberal thinking people elected onto these Boards.  Its bad enough having a right wing government making policy decisions that erode equity.  Having local government controlled by the right would just be too hard on our most vulnerable communities.  In theory, we would want to see some balance.

So people - if you have not yet voted because its too hard determining who you should vote for, go and have another look at the brochure.  I understand its a chore and not at all easy - hector dolphins, you cant even vote online.  Posting just adds to the hassle.

But it is worth it - your community needs good people!!   Don't be like the advertising - vote and have your voice counted.

* (I do not have any statistics on this except for a strong feminine hunch - but I suspect in situations like this the right wing are more inclined to vote and for that reason alone the public should have their say!)


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