Local Government elections

The local government elections are over and the results are out. the results differ significently from council to council, but one can consider the results pleasing from a right wing viewpoint, with John Banks beating hubbard in Auckland (no surprise) and Citizens and Ratepayers taking a absolute majority in Auckland. In Christchurch Bob Parker was elected mayor, with indepoendent citizens and independent councillors (many with right wing political views) taking a council majority. In Wellington Kerry Prendegast was re-elected with no significent changes to the council. In North Shore incumbent mayor George Wood suffered a shock defeat to anti-rates candidate Andrew Williams, despite Wood having a massive 48% lead in one poll.  Kiwiblog has more news. I’m sceptical of council results being an omen for next year, so don’t look too much into Banks’ victory.

One interesting observation about the local government elections, is the media played up the position of mayor, and did most of its election reporting on the mayoralty, while the mayor only has one vote in (in Auckland’s case) a 20 member council. It is the overall compositon of the council than who has the mayoral chains that is important.

Also notable was the low turnout, at only 41%. It seems local issues don’t matter to many people. The Government is looking into this. One way I thought of to increase turnout is to continue the new council terms until 2011, and have local elections combined with central Government ones, with mayor and councils on the ballot paper. As no-one cares about DHBs, they should be elected by councils, not voters at large.

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