Local elections are important

Who you vote for matters.

Every three years you get the chance to determine who represents your interests in Central Otago.

Your vote in this year’s local government elections has a direct impact on the outcomes you will see over the next three years in the community.

With all the change facing local government, now is not the time for apathy.

I admire those people who put their hand up for election.

They are deeply invested in their community, and they are courageous.

For most of us, when we apply for a job it is a confidential process; our success or failure is ours to share or to keep private.

Running for public office is a much tougher gig because the entire community gets to be the judge.

Candidates are judged in the election by those who vote, and often you are judged after the election by those that are very vocal about how you are doing, even though many didn’t vote in the first place.

Putting oneself in that position requires bravery.

While a good number of brave people put their hands up for the election, the ability for you to see the outcomes you desire in the community comes down to you voting.

The more people who vote, the more likely there will be people representing the interests of the broadest cross section of our community.

It only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the forms.

Surely we all have that to spare.

But voting isn’t just a tick-box exercise.

Who you vote for is also critical.

Candidates might be running because there is a specific thing that they are really passionate about, but the reality is that they will have to make decisions across a range of complex topics.

It is easy to be a single-issue voter, but I encourage every voter to inquire into candidates’ motivations and positions on a range of issues.

You could ask them about their views on the role of local government in shaping the future of Central Otago, why they are running, what experience they will offer if they are elected, how they envisage working with others in council — even the ones they don’t agree with, their views on how central and local government should work together, or how they would lead their community through difficult times such as lockdowns or a natural disaster.

This is a great way to inform where you put your vote.

You can find out more on about who your candidates are online at www.codc.govt.nz.

And don’t forget to get your voting papers in before October 8.