Monday, July 15, 2024

LGNZ casts vote for diversity

Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) Chief Executive, Susan Freeman-Greene, says the Vote 2022 campaign which kicked off today looks to make Aotearoa the most inclusive and active local democracy in the world.  

“This is the bold ambition, and we know it will take more than one election cycle to make lasting changes,” said Ms Freeman-Greene. 

Of New Zealand’s current mayors, councillors and other elected members: 40.5% are women; 13.5% are Māori and 56-60 is the average age – with just 13.9% under the age of 40. Representation of multi-ethnic and Pacific communities has also remained low. 

“We know that workload, pay and a lack of inclusion are all real barriers to getting diversity into local councils. These are issues that have built up over time.”

“There’s an opportunity, through the Future for Local Government review, to address these issues. But we also know that one of the biggest challenges is that people don’t realise that serving on local councils presents a huge opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.  

“The Vote 2022 campaign looks to shift the dial on that. The campaign champions local government as a place for everyone as regions across the country hold local elections this October.  Familiar faces and local heroes will share their aspirations for their local community,” said Ms Freeman-Greene.

The Vote 2022 campaign, being run in partnership with Taituarā, will be rolled out across the country via social media, video and radio with the support of community-based partners.

Running in two phases, the campaign will first encourage people to stand for election, and then to vote. 

“We also want to significantly increase the number of people who get out and vote in local body elections,” she said.

The turnout for national elections was 82% in 2020 but in the 2019 local election voter turnout was just 41.7%.  

She said local government should be seen as a powerful platform for positive change for the benefit of current and future generations. 

“This year, things must change to deliver local democracy that represents all communities especially after this pandemic.”

“All communities in Aotearoa are affected by the changes occurring across our nation, including the significant programme of reform underway in the local government sector that may change the forms and functions of local government,” said Ms Freeman-Greene.

LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby said New Zealand needs a wide diversity of candidates to stand in local government elections and represent their communities when decisions are being made.

“We also need everyone to learn more about their local candidates, consider their motivations and vision, and have their voice heard when they vote.”

“Now is not the time for people to turn off. It’s time for everyone to be heard and included, to shape the community they live in as Aotearoa’s looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr Crosby. 

Visit for all you need to know and resources about standing and voting in local government elections.

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