Last week I wrote about how the island needed Heros to stand for the local board elections. The new Auckland Council website has now started up at http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz and this has a great chunk of information for potential candidates.
This week I want to talk about Voting in those elections.
Waiheke punches above its weight we are often told. We are a vociferous lot who like to express an opinion – or maybe we have a few very loud people who stand out above the silent majority.
The turnout for the local body elections in Auckland central 2007 was 41% of those on the electoral roll (although Waiheke was higher). However only 78% of the people who were entitled to vote were enrolled to do so. In effect only 1 person in 3 actually voted. Which means that if you were one of those people you effectively had three votes. You were speaking for yourself and two other people who couldn’t be bothered.
Looking at the statistics it seems that if you are over 40 you are almost certain to be enrolled in the electoral roll and fairly likely to vote, but if you are under 30 you, or about half your friends won’t be getting a vote this year.
So it looks like your mum, dad and grandma are going to be speaking for you – I hope you like their choices.
It gets better, people who own houses in different areas get a vote for each house they pay rates on as well as the one where they live. So your landlord might be getting 6 or 9 times the influence. I hope you like his choice.
Perhaps that explains the high rents and poor tenant protection around here.
I know a lot of people are cynical about politics and politicians and I often hear that people think that they can do more through participating in more direct and focussed activities like Greenpeace, Avaaz or 350.org. Or by ‘liking’ facebook groups. But this is not an either or choice – for a few more clicks and ticks you can have power and influence.
This election coming will have a direct effect on life on Waiheke for the next few years, You can make a difference by voting and in order to do so you need to be enrolled. goto http://www.elections.org.nz/ and sign up.
Then email your lists, get onto Facebook and Twitter and make sure all your friends are signed up too. Do it now. lets get a 100% registration and turnout.