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.”