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Smith: Need to get local voters out is key

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Smith: Need to get local voters out is key

The key issue from the select committee review of the 2004 local body elections was the need to encourage more New Zealanders to exercise their civil obligation and vote, United Future electoral spokesman Murray Smith said today.

He said United Future had long supported civics education in schools which would include education on civic responsibility and he was pleased to see strong recommendations for such education from many submitters and from the Justice and Electoral Select Committee itself in its report.

The representation review process was another area that needed addressing, Mr Smith said, adding that United Future believed that there needed to be greater recognition of the wishes of voters in that process with greater weight given to the recognition of "communities of interest".

In the meantime the voting process needs to be as 'user-friendly' as possible, he said.

"More attention to the design of ballot papers through to placing ballot boxes in supermarkets and shopping malls on the final day would all help that process."

Mr Smith also said that he was satisfied that the extensive delays in issuing the results of the last election would not be repeated and many lessons had been learnt from the inadequate processes that caused the delays.

ENDS

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