Ed Said - Kaipara By-Election: Anyone interested?
If it weren’t for the jockeying of positions in general elections and the feeding frenzy by mainstream media and television, I’m sure few would take any notice of the proceedings, what they meant to the country or even to us individually even though we tend to choose one party over another.
Our local Mayoral elections are small fry by comparison but every bit as important in a local and regional sense though only for those who are interested. That interest appears to be limited in that few seem to care very much who is running, yet everyone seems to know who to blame if or when they have a grievance over rubbish collections, rates or the state of our roads.
All facets of Council are wide open to abuse by residents and ratepayers. Rarely does the Council receive a bouquet or even a back-handed compliment. If they have made good progress in any area, the community generally suffix any compliment with ‘but…’. Put yourself in their place. In your job you probably have a boss. If you do something wrong he may correct you or he may bawl you out and that’s the end of it. In Kaipara Council you have 14,000 ratepayers who all consider you work for them and every one and his problem are the most important thing in the world. It’s not an easy task being a Councillor and our candidates and elected officers need to be patently aware of this fact.
Residents likewise need to be aware that these people have pledged to do their bit and their best on behalf of us all. Our kids go to school with their kids or grandkids. They are our neighbours and our friends. Any public official remiss in their duty stands to be questioned or criticised but not abused as many have been, undeservedly, in the past.
This election is primarily to elect a new Mayor. Where Council is concerned, the buck stops with the Mayor but in the greater scheme of things he cannot wave a big stick to have his ideals followed. He is but one of a ‘council’ and as with the Councillors still only has one vote, though in some instances may have the casting vote. Council is not the place for hidden agendas or personality issues.
Candidates are spread across the Kaipara and residents have had a number of opportunities to meet and question each one on their platform. However this is a by-election which traditionally draws a very low percentage of voters. This one is no different. While those registered generally vote early (voting opened on January 26), to the end of last week only 12 percent of those eligible had cast their votes. Is this apathy, laziness or do people not care until something effects them specifically and they need someone to blame?
Kaipara is again trying to stand on its own two feet and those who stand for public office, whether successful or not, need to be applauded for putting others’ interests first.
Postal votes must be posted no later than next Wednesday February 14 to guarantee that your vote will arrive to be counted by noon this Saturday.