Responding to Local Government New Zealand’s push for a four-year electoral cycle in local government, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
“A four-year cycle would help to focus local councils on longer-term projects such as major infrastructure works. But the downside would be a loss of accountability: if voters elect a mayor or councillor who soon disgraces the office or breaks a major promise, we’ll be stuck with them for the full four-year term.”
“There’s a simple fix for this problem. Any extension of the electoral cycle should come with an option for recall election. This means that during the electoral term voters could petition to recall a representative. If enough signatures are gathered, a recall election is triggered for that position, meaning voters can replace a dysfunctional representative with someone more effective.”
“LGNZ has advocated for recall elections previously. If they’re serious about extending the electoral term, they’ll need to address justified concerns about democratic accountability. A recall option will serve this function well.”
The Taxpayers’ Union made the case for local recall elections in a recent briefing paper available at www.taxpayers.org.nz/recall_paper.