Spring into action — and exercise your right to vote

Spring has arrived with all the change that brings.

The willows have turned green, daffodils are flowering and once again we hear the sound of lawn mowers and enjoy the smell of cut grass.

But for all the wonder of lambs frolicking and blossom on fruit trees, this can be a challenging time for the primary sector, as changeable weather can affect livestock and crops.

We are also experiencing change, given the ambitious programme of reforms initiated by central Government: Three Waters reform, resource management reform, a review of local government and the health reforms.

These have the potential to affect our communities and how we live our lives in Central Otago.

With local body elections under way, this is people’s opportunity to choose those who will represent our communities and make important decisions on our behalf.

In the past couple of weeks, I have attended some of the meetings hosted by local community groups, which are designed to give residents the chance to meet the candidates and ask the burning questions.

Candidates standing for the Central Otago District Council, community boards, the Otago Regional Council and Central Otago Health shared their backgrounds, their reasons for standing and their views on a wide range of topics.

I take my hat off to these people who put themselves forward, as these roles can be challenging and sometimes thankless.

So, if you have not done so already, check out the candidates, read about them in the electoral material and make sure you exercise your right to vote before this Saturday.

At the time of writing, there was still low voter return, which might be due to the timing of postal delivery.

You can still vote by dropping your form into a ballot box in any of the Central Otago District Council offices and libraries until 4pm on Friday.

Or you can cast your vote in the main office in Alexandra between 9am and noon on Saturday, October 8.