Why You Need to Vote in the Local Body Elections

By   /   October 3, 2013  /   6 Comments

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Julie Fairey underscores a number of very good reasons why we all need to vote in the Auckland local government elections. Check it out…

Why you need to vote in the local body elections (and why you should vote for good local progressives).


Because libraries – these are vital community infrastructure. Not just places to get a book anymore, they are important hubs of education and research, social connection and community events. Local body politicians control libraries; make sure you vote for ones who value them

Because parks – more vital community, and environmental, infrastructure. You can go there to run around madly with a kite or a ball, to meet neighbours, to enjoy the bush, to go for a walk, to play sports, to have fun with the kids, to just sit in the sun with a book or watch the clouds. The green lungs of our city, parks are also controlled by local body politicians; make sure you vote for ones who understand that.

Because transport – how we get around, and how we move stuff around too. Many modes, but how to fund them, how to prioritise, how to make a complex system work? More public transport? (yes please!) Encouragement for active transport like cycling? (Definitely!) Encouraging local economic development so people don’t have to travel so far to work or get the things they need? (Good idea). Transport decision-making is done by local body politicians; make sure you vote for ones who share your priorities.

Because fairness – it’s not ok to neglect some communities while privileging others, or to pay some people less than it costs them to live. Choosing what goes where, how each community can be well served by their council, how we get regional fairness while allowing for local differences. These are all important matters that local body politicians decide, with your input; make sure you vote for ones who have integrity, clearly stated values and who will listen to their constitutents.

Because housing – where we live, not just you or me, but our neighbours, our colleagues, our family, our friends, complete strangers on the other side of the city. Housing should be warm, dry, safe, and tenancy or ownership needs to be secure or else it is impossible for those living there to connect with their neighbourhood. We are at a cross-roads in terms of housing in many areas of Auckland, not just in terms of affordability for buyers, but also secruity for renters, addressing the lack of social housing, looking at new models of housing like high quality apartment developments which could suit families, where more housing should go (and where it shouldn’t), how we retain character in established neighbourhoods and create it in new ones. Local body politicians have a huge say in all these matters; make sure you vote for those with a vision and some foresight on these issues, who can take us beyond a status quo that isn’t working for many.

Because democracy – you have a stake in your community, far beyond the end of your driveway, and this is your big chance to have a say in how it is run for the next three years. You can use your vote to show who you think has done a good job, who has not, who has some good ideas, who has the work ethic and the community focus you want all politicians to have.

And here’s a reminder of what’s at stake, at the local level:

“A list of the physical facilities accessed by 56,000+ residents [for Puketapapa] gives only part of the picture; there’s local community development, economic development, input to regional and isthmus matters, the Unitary Plan, heritage matters, community funding and leases, and so much more. The Remuneration Authority recently estimated the typical local board member will need to put in 24 hours a week, and chairs close to full time. It’s not an insignficant role, the power and funding has great potential to make change for local communities.”

    You can read that whole article here.
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  1. Jilly Bee says:

    Yes, we do need to vote and goodness me the mayoral contest just may be getting a tad closer. I shudder at John Palino getting anywhere near the mayoral chains of Auckland City. I took part in this poll and yes, it’s only a poll, but the South and West Auckland people need to get their postal votes in pronto.


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  2. paulminett says:

    On the Get Auckland Moving Facebook page we have survey that reports 134 of the Auckland candidates for mayor, council, and local board, their views on carpooling and public transport. We encourage people to view this summary when deciding how to vote. http://www.tripconvergence.co.nz/localelectioncandidateresponses.pdf

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  3. […] Julie Fairley has put it local government is vital because of libraries, parks, transport, fairness, housing and democracy. […]

  4. Danyl Strype says:

    This is the first election during which I’ve felt so jaded about representative democracy, particularly the gutted shell that remains of most local democracy after both late Clark and Key, that I couldn’t even raise the motivation to update my address on the electoral role. I honestly feel like the hour or so it might take me to vote in local body elections would be better spent weeding the garden, or reading a good book. Whatever I bet on it seems, the house wins. Does this make me a bad politics nerd?

    >> looking at new models of housing like high quality apartment developments which could suit families <<

    Who are these families? Do they involve children? Aren't houses with back yards the model of housing which best suits families? Apartments are not a "new model of housing". When they built them in the US and UK they called them "the projects" and they are now home to some of the most disconnected people in their society, whose neighbourhoods are riddled with violence and dispair. I can't believe the "progressives" falling for the propaganda that locking up families like battery hens in apartments buildings in somehow desirable. Where is their food going to come from as oil declines?!?

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    • Julie Fairey says:

      There is quite a bit of demand for three bedroom apartments in the city, and a woefully inadequate supply. These are for couples with one or two children. People are actively seeking inner city living, or similar models but perhaps in town centres not in the inner city itself. Where do you think all the children live in New York? They don’t all bus in from off Manhattan island. In European cities as well it isn’t that uncommon for families with children to live in apartments, or terraced housing. You do need to ensure there are plenty of local parks – think of the UK squares – terraced housing around the outside of a square which acts as a central park or village green. We will find our own ways to do this. But not everyone with children wants a one level three bedroom house plonked right in the middle of a section with a small front yard and a small backyard and high fences that carve them off from the world. I love the neighbourhood I live in, and wouldn’t move not least because of our fabulous neighbour who is very close to my children, but if we were less embedded I’d be open to a high-quality, spacious apartment, with a 5 year old and a 3 year old and a cat, in a town centre, within walking distance of shops and school and aq frequent transport stop and a library. They’re being built all through Remuera, for the well-off, so good apartments can be built, we just need to make sure that the same quality in terms of building materials, space, energy efficiency and so on goes in at the cheaper end of the market too. Council has a role there to set the rules and also to be a developer itself, for social and affordable housing, imho..

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