Voting Local 2010

499 Responses

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  • Andre Alessi,

    Would it be unreasonable to expect voters to actually take an hour or two to find out a little information about the candidates before they vote? Read a little media, attend a candidates meeting etc?

    Well, my point is that in many cases, there isn't any information available, or the information provided is skewed based on the author's prejudices (on the Internet anyway-I assume you're not suggesting people trawl through hard copies of parliamentary voting records, etc.) It would make more sense for there to be a required level of detail for all local body biographies, rather than the current regime, which actively benefits individuals like Christine Rankin or Brian Neeson, who have name recognition but aren't required to list all the things they did to gain their notoriety in the first place.

    Creating brief independent biographies isn't difficult, journalists do it all the time.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That goes to the heart of what I'm uncomfortable with here. In national elections, people use party affiliation to determine, in lieu of detailed policy statements from each and every candidate, how they can expect people to act once elected.

    Don't know if anything could have predicted Roger Douglas deciding John Key (and the Government) is acceptable collateral damage to get to Rodney... Sometimes, you just dance with the one who brung you and hope the splintered bones in your foot will set properly. Eventually.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    there isn't any information available, or the information provided is skewed based on the author's prejudices (on the Internet anyway-I assume you're not suggesting people trawl through hard copies of parliamentary voting records, etc.) It would make more sense for there to be a required level of detail for all local body biographies, rather than the current regime, which actively benefits individuals like Christine Rankin or Brian Neeson, who have name recognition but aren't required to list all the things they did to gain their notoriety in the first place.

    I'm not sure how this differs from general elections, where all the information is skewed based on the author's prejudices.

    Requiring previous political positions to be listed would lead to lots of silly stuff. So and so has to list that they used to be an MP - well that looks impressive. Person over there who might have had just an impressive job doesn't get that listed because it's not political. No reasonable electoral system is going to allow that through, it will bias in favour of some people.

    Also people who no longer believe what a political party that they used to work for are still going to be tagged with it.

    In the end there's plenty of information out there about candidates, any candidate who doesn't provide information (such as the one person who didn't supply a blurb for my voting booklet) are going to suffer as a result, and it's an election in which voters have an obligation to find out a few basic things before ticking the boxes.

    If people don't know that John Banks used to be a minister in the national government, they're an uninformed voter and putting that at the bottom of his blurb ain't going to fix the problem of them being uninformed.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If people don't know that John Banks used to be a minister in the national government, they're an uninformed voter and putting that at the bottom of his blurb ain't going to fix the problem of them being uninformed.

    And if, on the Shore, you're unaware that Ann Hartley was not only a Labour MP but Mayor of Birkenhead before becoming the first Mayor of North Shore City, then WTF are you even considering voting for her anyway? As I said, I voted for her because IMO she's been a pretty good councillor and a Sharpei with distemper would be preferable to Andy Pandy.

    And I don't know if Christine Rankin's "name recognition" has been much of a boon for her -- if anything she has a Palin-esque genius for polarising people.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I feel like I need SeriousCat to intervene over this guy

    Support light-sabre based progress. Do, or do not, there is no try - Vote for Jedi Craig.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I feel like I need SeriousCat to intervene over this guy

    Feh... we know even Samuel L. Jackson couldn't stop the Sith. Vote for Papa Papaltine. You know it's right...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I have no trouble with doing the research on mayoral candidates - there's not too many of them, most are reasonably high-profile (or declared nutbars (or both)) and I only have to pick one of them but when it comes down to picking seven DHB members out of a long list of people I've never heard of it feels damn near impossible to make any kind of useful decision.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Srsly though, how did the practice of not having national parties represented at council level come about? A lot of other countries have a mini-parliament style representation at local and regional level. Voted for at that level that is, not cascaded down from national level.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    @Craig R: And the late, great Phil Warren was a rare creature - a successful concert promoter & card-carrying CitRat who genuinely bridged political divides.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't think our local democracy is broken, definitely everyone who cares enough can become informed. But I still can't put my finger on why I don't care, but do care about the national level elections. In terms of direct influence over my life, local body is actually quite powerful.

    Some of it is that most of what local body is involved in is technical details rather than the bigger issues/picture. So in order to become more informed for voting purposes, I not only need to become informed about the candidates, but also what the hell it is that they are doing and responsible for. I'm not even entirely sure what the DHB even does, nor what the major/minor issues that are currently on the table for it are, much less what the connection is between those issues and the candidates. And the same goes for all the other areas of responsibility. The information just gets less and less, the closer to the detail we get, there are less people talking about whether or not my local industrial area should have widened zoning, or a particular shop should be allowed to sell spirits in my local shops.

    To become informed enough does actually involve more than a few hours work. To say I can just read commentators and bios is pretty much doing the same thing as voting on party allegiance, I'm giving over my responsibility for making a choice to someone else I vaguely trust. I haven't spent huge hours deciding what my position is on various tunnels, business zonings, waste disposal mechanisms and responsibilities, park maintenance etc is.

    And I'm lucky enough to periodically get hours to do research. Most people simply aren't.

    It does make me a little sad that my choices about people who are responsible for some highly technical stuff will be based around the huge generalization that "I generally prefer people who want to invest money in making the city better, and that doesn't seem to be the far-right, but nor do I want an overly restrictive city, and that doesn't seem to be the far-left, so I'll be in the middle somewhere leaning to the left". But I seriously haven't got the time for much more than that. Reading a couple of bios seems more likely to be "A little knowledge, a dangerous thing" to me - I'm at least reasonably certain I'm leftward leaning, whereas I've got basically no clue about the best way to allocate health board funds, and the people on the right might actually have better ideas, I just wouldn't know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    what the hell it is that they are doing and responsible for

    This is one of the issues with the changes to the Auckland councils and everyone needs to be wary of in Hide's local government reforms - no one knows although I'm sure the candidates would be willing to tell you what they'd like to do.

    I've voted for those who expression concerns that matter to the way I'd like Auckland to be and especially if I've seen to them express them well for a while. I've no way of knowing whether they'll be able to do anything than raise their voice.

    Next time round we may have a clearer idea of the roles thrashed out over the term, I can't help thinking in time for a certain former Local Government Minister to claim he's the best candidate for Mayor.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's a classic case of our need to invest in civics education and ongoing broad publicity campaigns, when a smart voter doesn't have basic information about what different bodies even do, let alone their influence over time or how different political potiions might shape that.

    It's not just the 'technical' stuff about enviromental management, traffic engineering and community development theory, but yes, it's far from common knowledge for most of us.

    Councils shape cities. Along with DHBs they strongly influence the wellbeing of the people who live in their area, directly and indirectly. Yet we all have more chance of knowing what some minor celebrity wore to Fashion Week or ate for breakfast.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Neutrality is soo last year.
    Anything goes

    Thanks, Sofie. That story is interesting.

    Former National Party president Michelle Boag is facing fresh conflict of interest claims after she solicited money and votes for John Banks' mayoral campaign in emails bearing Super City recruitment contractor Momentum's letterhead.

    ...

    When asked, Ms Boag initially said she saw no issue with Momentum's branding appearing on the political emails. The emails were personal and sent in her own time.

    ...

    Ms Boag later told the Herald she had discussed the matter with Mr Ashby and they had agreed it was inappropriate for her personal emails to bear Momentum branding.

    "We are talking to our IT people about how to disable it."

    Not only does Boag seem to not see how that is wrong, she is too ignorant to just use a private email account. Or you might say it's framing it as some technical problem that's to blame, not a human decision.

    I'll let voters decide what that tells them about the character of some folk who believe they're entitled to run your city - and our country. This gem should help mansplain how all that "independence" works.

    In another email also bearing Momentum livery and under the heading "John Banks for Mayor", Ms Boag says she wants "a more experienced Mayor for the first Super City which will also help the National Party to another term in central government".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Not only does Boag seem to not see how that is wrong, she is too ignorant to just use a private email account. Or you might say it's framing it as some technical problem that's to blame, not a human decision.

    Remarkably amateur I thought. Blaming it on a signature while using her work email address. How hard can it be?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    different political potiions

    Aaagh. Different political positions

    My fingers remain crossed that the site redesign also removes the broken scripting that locks me out of editing at crucial moments.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How hard can it be?

    To find an excuse? She's a professional.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Kyle said:

    Dunedin is largely having an election about the stadium, with rates rises and debt tagged along behind.

    So very true - it's a bit late but finally we get a say - don;t rank the bastards who voted for it.

    Major mayoral candidates are existing mayor Chin, and opponents Dave Cull and Lee Vandervis - both from the council. There's going to be some strong voting along pro/anti- stadium lines. The anti people are very vocal and active, I'm not sure if their votes will be enough to knock off Chin when he's got two substantial candidates opposing him to split the votes.

    Strictly speaking Vandervis isn't currently a councilor (though has been in the past). It's STV, not FPP so if you want to vote Chin out simply vote for Cull or Vanderviss, whichever you prefer and rank the other #2 - that way anti-Chin people's votes will combine to vote him out

    We're also STV voting for city council, which makes it quite a bit of work. My large ward has 11 seats, but 39 candidates so you can put up to 39 numbers. I gave up at 16 or 17... after that they were either unelectable or I didn't have enough information to differentiate between them.

    Yeah it's insane - unlike FPP in STV you have just one vote and it can theoretically find its way down past your 11th vote so choosing as many as you can is the best you can do - I think I made 18 or so - basically the best strategy seems to be to choose all the people you think could be councilors and you can stomach, rank them and leave the rest blank.

    I have so far seen one election ad on TV this season ... from Len Brown ...

    Finally my good friend Geraldine Tait is running for council in the Waikouaiti/Waitati/Port Chalmers/Ravensbourne ward she's a feisty independent local activist and I hope she wins

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Councils shape cities. Along with DHBs they strongly influence the wellbeing of the people who live in their area, directly and indirectly.

    I'm just wading through the DHB candidates for Chch - though it seems pointless when the Govt can just appoint whoever they want to it as well - witness last election when Alister James was not re-elected but, then Health Minister, David Cunliffe overrode that and appointed him Chairman - Democracy at its finest...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I prefer voting for ideas than personalities. So I'd be happier with a mini-parliament system where we voted for a party group and the mayor was the leader who could command a majority of members, rather than the present beauty contest.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Former National Party president Michelle Boag is facing fresh conflict of interest claims after she solicited money and votes for John Banks' mayoral campaign in emails bearing Super City recruitment contractor Momentum's letterhead.

    In another email also bearing Momentum livery and under the heading "John Banks for Mayor", Ms Boag says she wants "a more experienced Mayor for the first Super City which will also help the National Party to another term in central government

    You were saying, Craig? :)

    Does Hill-Cone have a clue about how the National Party actually works, or how it doesn't actually directly get involved in local body campaigns?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    double, double, toil 'n' trouble...

    ...political potiions

    well there is that witch Christine O'Donnell in the USA... hope those Tea Party types can find all the ingredients for their infusions...
    Eye of Gingrich and toe of Sarkozy
    are not always readily available...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I've just started the tedious job of wading through 32 candidates for the Waitemata District Health Board.

    Crossed out Andrew Williams. 31 left to go.

    Get rid of the two C&R candidates. 29 left.

    Get rid of the four 'North Now' candidates (who seem to be some sort of ACT/Nat subdivision). 25 left.

    Stick a no. 1 up against Sandra Coney. Got a responable amount of respect for her, based on what I've read of her writings, and my wife has had some direct dealings with her and reckons she's alright.

    So 24 left to trawl through.

    A wee bit of googling throws up some who earn a lot of points for enthusiasm (take a bow, M'sieu Le Fevre, and an awful lot of people who seem to have a background working in mental health, which is mildly worrying. Is there something the voters need to know?

    Anyway, if anyone has recommendations of whittling the list down, then feel free to make 'em.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    double, double, toil 'n' trouble

    I knew someone would go there.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Gotta say, if a candidate can't be bothered sticking up a decent profile/photo on the offical website, then why should I bother voting for them?

    I'm looking at you, Steve Ashby. Not only does your profile not mention one single solitary thing of relevance to one on the positons you're standing for (the Health Board), but I'm sure you could have found a photo that didn't look like a cropped police mugshot.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    yeah a bunch of candidates here in Dunedin were to me quite unelectable - they didn't offer anything but themselves - no plans, no policy, no idea of where they stand on the issues (will you continue to shovel buckets of public debt into the stadium white elephant so that the rugby boys will keep inviting you to their parties?) - and in an election where we have to elect 11 candidates for a giant central ward by ranking from 40 odd candidates it's easy to just look at someone and say "I know nothing about you, you are the weakest link goodbye!"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

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