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

LG conf pic2

Local Government Delegates endorsing library assistant’s equal pay claim – a key election priority for the PSA

Also in this issue:

Think Global, Act Local Government

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But those who work in local government say the decisions made by councils can make a "massive" difference.

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Vote for healthy communities

While the work of district health board members often goes unseen, they help make critical decisions about the health services you and your whānau receive in your communities.

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Let's Bring This Home

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Te Ao Tūmatanui: Strengthening the Māori Crown relationship

A key component of the new Public Service Act is the inclusion of a section on the Crown’s relationship with Māori and Te Tiriti.
Working Life asked State Services minister Chris Hipkins how he is going to measure the success of the new look partnership.

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Ask the Minister

As the Government drafts the new legislation to transform the public service, we ask Minister Hipkins how it will affect your working lives:

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Equal pay for all

As we celebrate the success of our sisters in securing voting rights 126 years ago, the PSA is leading the struggle for pay equality.

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Suffrage Day: ‘Our members are worth 100% and shouldn’t have to rattle buckets to get it’

Jacqueline Aberdein-Tapuai is a qualified and registered social worker with a Master’s degree - but the mum of four teenagers struggles from pay check to pay check.

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Mind the gap! Taking action on gender pay

While the latest statistics show how persistent the gender pay gap remains, our efforts are starting to produce some real gains for women.

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