Bryce Edwards has investigated why there is such low participation and diversity in local body elections.
I’ve suggested that based on the early pre-enrolment, this could be one of the lowest local body turn outs in recent times.
Why is there such low voter turn out and such a lack of diversity in our local elections?
I think it is because over the years, neoliberal reform of local government has resulted in a system that has been gutted and gelded in terms of actual power and stacked behind complex technocratic boards who ensure that the elected representatives are little more than puppets to masquerade the pretence of power for the pretension of democratic validity.
Our elected officials are limited by a technocrat class of bureaucrats who many times have vested interests or are simply incompetent.
Look at the fiasco that is the Bus service in Wellington, and the confusion by many Wellington voters as to who actually wields the power to change the appalling mess it’s become.
The technocratic nature most Local Government has been reduced to explains the lack of diversity while a system that is built for the pretence of democratic participation and engineered to limit actual change quickly loses majority support.
If local Government could actually do something and could actually represent the locals living in the area, people would vote.
It doesn’t, so people don’t.
I hope I am wrong about this coming election, but the Pub Politics debate (which was reduced to an out of context comment) summed this issue up best, Phil has managed to gain an extra $9Billion in infrastructure, yet the grinding gridlock most Aucklanders suffer from see nothing of that investment.
People who lose faith that a system can actually benefit them won’t participate in that system. Blaming people for their apathy to validate a rigged casino seems to be missing the point.