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Young candidate pushes for change to Electoral Act

24th September 2001

Young candidate pushes for change to Electoral Act

At 25 years of age Christiaan Briggs is the youngest candidate standing for Napier City Council. He is calling for a more participatory democracy and is urging Hawke's Bay citizens, especially first-time voters, to vote in this year's local body elections.

However he asks, "why should someone vote if they don't like the choices they are faced with? Or more to the point, if somebody doesn't vote, why should they then be labelled "apathetic", and told they can't complain?"

Just under 60% of eligible voters voted in Napier's 1998 election. This translates roughly into 15000 eligible voters not casting their vote.

"Although the introduction of STV next term will most likely improve turnout I think voters should be able to send in blank ballots to have them counted as non-votes. It would require a change to the Electoral Act but this way we would know if people really are apathetic or whether in fact there is a problem with the quality and diversity of candidates that needs resolving," Christiaan said.

Christiaan is standing as an Independent Green, and is pushing for a more participatory democracy.

He explains this in terms of "informed public debate and consultation, defining who is affected by a decision, and devolving decision making down as close as possible to those who are affected by the decision.

"This way you don't have to rely on representatives to come up with all the ideas. Participatory democracy is especially useful at budget time, bringing new meaning to the expression 'if you want it done right then do it yourself.'"

You can learn more about Christiaan's candidacy by visiting his website at
http://www.briggs.net.nz/

If you do not receive your voting papers by 27 September 2001, call the Hawke¹s Bay Electoral Officer, Henry Hatton, on (06) 835 7579, or Peter Woodroffe for Hastings, on (06) 878 0500 extension 8620.

ENDS

Christiaan Briggs 17 Seapoint Road, Napier Ph: 8354526 cbriggs@clear.net.nz

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