by Casey Costello

Local government has more influence on the direction of New Zealand’s democracy than you might imagine, as a large proportion of the anti-democratic policies and co-governance pushed on voters comes from councils elected by minorities of the electorate.

While Parliament sets the primary legislation, councils still govern much of our lives and are increasingly handing the essential functions they perform on behalf of their ratepayers over to undemocratic co-governance.

With turnout so low for most councils this year, your vote could make all the difference. Postal voting is closed, but you can still vote at council buildings and libraries

Voting closes at midday Tomorrow

Complacency and apathy are a greater risk to our democracy than the current Government’s agenda to change our democracy by stealth.

Your participation in this election will demonstrate that there is still accountability at the ballot box for those who have failed to represent the best interests of their communities.

This is the time when elected representatives are answerable for their actions and when the motives and agenda of candidates can be scrutinised.

Don’t let complacency leave us with local government representatives that are prepared to divide communities.

Trying to determine who will prevent separatism and will support differentiation of rights based upon race is not easy to expose, but there are sources of information available.

As a starting point, those standing on a Labour ticket [or are Labour endorsed —Eds] are obliged to “faithfully observe the Constitution and Policy of the Party”. This is explained in more detail in an article by Chirs Milne, himself a city councillor, which you can read here.

On this basis, Labour ticket candidates are obliged to prioritise the agenda of the Party above the interests of the community that elects them.

As a guide, the Taxpayers’ Union has produced a How to Vote website which, when looking at the candidates in your area, shows how candidates responded to their survey. Two of the questions are on Three Waters and who should decide whether a council has separate Maori wards.

>>> Click here to find out where candidates stand <<<

This is at least an indication of the candidate’s position on key issues. Those candidates who did not respond to the question have not been listed on the site.

These elections will be a pre-cursor to next year’s general election. Ensuring that those who have sought to divide or communities by race are held accountable at the ballot box has never been more important.