Supporting local democracy
Vote 2019 is your chance to help shape the future of your community, according to PSA Vice-President and Auckland Council delegate Benedict Ferguson.
“Local government elections matter because it’s your government,” he says.
“It affects so much of our daily lives - from the water that runs through your taps, to your local library, or the bus or train you catch.”
“Councillors make decisions that build our communities, such as the funding of huge infrastructure projects, or investing in social housing so everyone can have a warm dry home.”
But Benedict says a lack of knowledge about who the candidates are or even what councils do contributes to low voter turnout for local body elections.
In 2016 the total national voter turnout was just 43 percent.
A Local Government NZ survey found the main reasons people gave for not voting was not knowing enough about the candidates (33%), forgetting or leaving it too late (23%), being uninterested (16%) or too busy (16%).
“But I believe we all have a civic duty to get involved. When I hear people slagging off ‘bloody councillors’ I say to them who did you vote for? Have you been to a meeting?,” says Benedict.
“People think it’s just about rates, but there is actually so much more at stake. I’m proud to work in local government.”
That’s why the PSA is a partner in Local Government NZ’s campaign to increase voter turnout and encourage greater participation in local democracy.
With the 18-29 age group recording the lowest voter turnout (34%) in 2016, it’s clear why young people are a focus of the campaign.
“We want to encourage democratic participation at a local level, and to educate young and old about the role local government plays in our social, environmental, economic and cultural well-being,” says PSA national secretary Glenn Barclay.
“So visit your council websites for more information about the candidates, look out for upcoming election debates and meetings, and take the opportunity to quiz candidates about whether their views align with your values.”
“And to all candidates, I urge you to ﬁght these elections on the issues that matter – not by attacking hardworking council workers.”
We've produced a handy pullout poster highlighting the key issues which you can display in your workplace.
• September 20-25 Voting documents delivered
• Septermber 20-October 12 Special voting period
• October 12 Election Day – voting closes midday
It includes expectations public service leaders work in partnership with Māori to deliver services that work for Māori, and develop a workforce that reflects the community it serves.
While the Government’s plan for public service reform does not reverse many of the neo-liberal elements of the State Sector Act it still represents a significant step forward. The reforms will provide better mechanisms to enable cross agency work and help break down silos in government.
“As a school social worker I’m responsible for more than 600 kids and I earn about the same amount as I did twenty years ago working in a bank.”