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City Vision Launches Online Campaign Strategy

City Vision Launches Online Campaign Strategy For Auckland Local Government Elections With Revamped Website, www.cityvision.org.nz

City Vision targets younger Internet-savvy voters to secure majority position on Auckland City Council

AUCKLAND – 2 August 2001 – City Vision, the progressive centre left grouping on the Auckland City Council, today launched its revamped website, www.cityvision.org.nz signalling a significant online component to this year’s election campaign. According to City Vision Campaign Committee Chair and Auckland City Councillor Kay McKelvie, the traditionally low voter turnout at local body elections compared to general elections (approximately 50% compared to 80%) forced City Vision to look beyond the electoral communication methods used in previous years. “The Internet provides a two-way, low-cost, high accountability medium that reaches thousands of voters in Auckland City,” she said.

“Recent surveys of how the Internet affected the 2001 general election in the United Kingdom reveal that young people were nearly three times more likely to use the web to find out about politics than older generations,” said Kay McKelvie. “These findings point to an international trend. Younger voters in New Zealand, particularly in urban areas like Auckland City, are much more interested in the Internet as a route to politics than older voters. Therefore it is incumbent on City Vision to communicate with these voters in a medium in which they are comfortable.”

Polls in the United States suggest that people with Internet access are more likely to vote than those without. A survey conducted by Democracy Online Project after last year’s November elections in the United States, found that more than one in three Americans (35 percent) used the Internet to get information about politics, campaigns, or issues in the news, compared to 25 percent in 1998. Four in ten Internet users (40 percent), or 14 percent of the total US adult population, stated that the Internet was important in providing them with information that helped them decide how to vote in the 2000 elections.

City Vision Online Campaign Strategy
“There are some fundamental rules to Internet campaigning that City Vision will strictly adhere to,” explains McKelvie. “Our web site will have a simple structure with no glitzy graphics. It is important that people can easily access the web site from home on slow modems.”

“Furthermore, we see email as a way of offering our supporters instant, focused and widespread communication. And it is two-way. People can have real input into our campaign. Interactivity between voters and candidates is one of our major online campaigning goals. We intend to set up a genuinely interactive policy discussion email list in which Auckland voters can debate issues with our candidates. Separate email lists will be run for campaign news and for voting reminders, so people can choose exactly what sort of information they receive from our campaign.”

About the 2001 Local Government Elections; a postal vote
Triennial elections for elected members of all local bodies throughout New Zealand are to be conducted this year by postal vote. Voting papers will be sent to all eligible electors, by post, from Friday 21 September 2001 and voters will have three weeks to send in their ballots, the deadline being 12 noon, Saturday 13 October 2001. Preliminary results will be released on 13 October.

About City Vision
City Vision was established in Auckland City in the run up to the 1998 local body elections. A co-operative partnership between Labour, the Alliance and community groups, City Vision stood candidates across the city to challenge the controversial incumbent Council dominated by Citizen & Ratepayers representatives.

As a result, in Auckland City, five City Vision councillors were elected out of 19 positions. In addition, two Labour councillors and one Independent councillor endorsed by City Vision were elected, bringing the centre left representation to eight on the Auckland City Council. For the first time in 60 years, right wing interests no longer had a stranglehold on power.

At the same time, City Vision gained a majority of representatives on three community boards. These were Western Bays, Avondale, and Eden-Albert. City Vision also won two out of four Auckland City seats available on the Auckland Regional Council. Mike Lee and Jack Henderson were the successful candidates.

Since the 1998 elections, the minority group of City Vision representatives on the Auckland City Council has worked in an MMP-type environment where gains have, by necessity, required the support of some of the other councillors. Nevertheless, City Vision has been able to implement significant policy changes of benefit to Aucklanders. Continued City Vision representation on Council is the key to ensuring that Auckland's local and regional government provides an opportunity for progressive policies.

More information on City Vision and the Local Government Elections is available at http://www.cityvision.org.nz

ENDS

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