Ed Said - Elections: Will you or won’t you?
In 2010, the best voter turnout in the whole of Northland was Kaipara at 53.5 per cent. Bill Guest mounted a challenge for mayoralty with his ‘Kaipara Can’ crew. This bid ultimately failed but gave voters a hint of an alliance of a like-minded bunch to run Council and spurred a number of previously ambivalent peoples to cast their preference.
Could this happen again? The question has been mooted regarding the Mangawhai Ratepayers & Residents Association. Whatever happens this is set to be an election of considerable significance.
There is a drive to endeavour to get younger people voting. Younger people are generally notorious non-voters. Also, those on benefits (of which there are a number in Kaipara) aren’t traditionally very interested as not being property owners subject to rates, insurance or any other levies that might appear, are going to receive their weekly or fortnightly ‘allowance’, top-ups or hardship grants regardless of who is or isn’t in Council.
Should we be limiting nominees to anyone younger than, say, 65 in order to avoid an ‘old-boy’ network and maybe sacrifice experience for more modern thinking? Alternatively should we be encouraging younger, say, twenty-somethings, to stand who may have fresher and certainly more lateral views but lack public office experience? How, then, does one gain experience? Of course both options sadly encourage charges of ‘age-ism’ and also undermine democracy.
So! Who really is prepared to put their name forward, to do what they feel is their civic duty in helping shape the future of Kaipara? Are there outsiders (well, if they have chosen to come and live among us can they still be outsiders?) willing to answer the call?
Mangawhai, the recipient of a large percentage of ex-Aucklanders of late, both full and part-time residents, still has a strong anti-Jaffa faction. I’m not sure why, as these people are adding to our economy both financially and, in many cases, big city politics and a fund of knowledge, and as ‘outsiders’ can probably hold a far more objective position than can many residents of longer tenure.
We need to be sure that those standing are not doing so through bloody-mindedness. Though he or she may have a high profile locally, any candidate with their own agenda will not serve the people well. They need to represent their ward honestly and openly and with commitment but remember they need to choose their battles, meet the challenges, savour the positive results for those who have supported them but also accept that not all decisions will go their way.
I think positivity is perhaps the most important ingredient candidates can bring to these elections. Nobody is forgetting the immediate past, though similarly many latecomers are
unaware of the depth of angst, but surely this election is an opportunity to breathe new life into Kaipara without constantly referring to what’s past.
In the words of political theorist John Schaar: “The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.”
Let’s have your views.