Voting to open for 2016 local government elections

New Zealanders need to make their vote count in the upcoming local council elections if they want to influence how their regions are led and governed, says Local Government New Zealand chief executive, Malcolm Alexander.

Voting papers for city, district and regional councils will be posted out to eligible voters from 16 September and must be posted or hand delivered in time to reach their local council’s electoral officer by 12 noon on 8 October.

“Local government shapes the place that you live. It’s the pavements you walk on, the roads where you drive, the water in your shower, and the parks, libraries and swimming pool where you take the kids,” Alexander says in a media release.

“It’s also about culture, sports events, economic development and much more. It is your democratic right to take part in electing those members who best reflect the values and local priorities of the community you live in.

“So all eligible voters should have their say via the ballot box to get the people they want around council tables. This is the best way to see the changes you want in your community.

“This is your opportunity as a citizen to play a part in electing the people who will make the important decisions about how public resources will be allocated.

“In 2016 we’re very keen to get voter turnout above 50 percent. That means reversing a downward trend, but we believe New Zealanders simply need some gentle reminders about the importance of participating in the democratic process at both local and national levels.”

Research has shown that a large proportion of people who do not vote intend to do so but are simply too busy or forget.

“I would encourage people to vote as soon as possible after receiving your voting papers in the post,” Alexander says.

“By voting you can make a real difference and give your support to those candidates who have the values and policies to strengthen local economies and revitalise our communities.”

Further information about the election, including the candidates standing in your area, how to fill in voting papers and how the Single Transferable Vote (STV) and First Past the Post (FPP) voting systems work is available at www.vote2016.co.nz.

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