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Local government changes reflects community choice

MEDIA RELEASE
Local government changes reflects community choice

For immediate release on 11 October 2004

Local government is about giving communities the choice to select their mayor and council and this has been reflected in the results of the local government elections, Local Government New Zealand President Basil Morrison said today.

“Local government is about local democracy, New Zealand communities have chosen their elected members for the next three years. I welcome all 30 new mayors and the large number of new councillors, both territorial and regional, and community board members. I look forward to working with you as you lead and develop your communities.

“At the same time I acknowledge the work of those mayors, councillors and community board members who have retired or lost their seats in the elections. Many of you have worked tirelessly for your communities since the 1980s, during a period of remarkable change in New Zealand. We have seen local government change from a deliverer of essential services to the major player in developing the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of our communities. You have made a significant contribution to this new role for local government.

“This year the voting turnout was lower than 2001 but still consistent with earlier local elections. This is a fairly good result, considering the introduction of Single Transferable Vote. However, we would like to see a higher level of participation in the elections. Our voting survey has begun and will examine the reasons why people didn’t vote. We know there are a number of possible reasons such as complacency, lack of high profile issues, or plain lack of interest but the research will be able to substantiate what the reasons were.

“The Justice and Electoral Select Committee will also carry out a full evaluation of the elections. One of the issues this committee will examine will be the time delays for results. I look forward to the results of both of these evaluations to see what we can improve on for the next local government elections in 2007,” said Mr Morrison.

Local Government New Zealand is the national voice of all 86 councils of New Zealand.

ENDS

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