The article identifies key demographics of apathetic voters as the young, ethnic minorities, the poor and uneducated. Various interest groups including students, the homeless and ethnic minorities are invited to have a moan about candidates not addressing their concerns.
Voter apathy is a serious issue that needs addressing, according to Massey University political scientist Dr Grant Duncan.
People are often unable or unwilling to sift through the information to find out who's going to make a difference, or else they think their vote won't make a difference anyway, so "what's the point?"
People’s lives are busier than ever. They have to juggle home, job, family and friends as well as their own health and wellbeing. There is little energy left over for worrying about Council issues. People only worry only when Councils affect their lives. For instance, not finding a car park at Matiatia adds unnecessary stress to busy lives. The problem needs fixing not spending $150,000 on more plans and 'consultation' about the issue.
People suspect to endless rounds of ‘community engagement’ are little more than a sham, another vast waste of their money when politicians have already made up their minds.
"If I am sleeping in my car or in someone's garage, I'd be more worried about getting through the next day than who to vote for in the next election," Duncan says.
Though he says the impoverished are the exact demographic that should be targeted, candidates and political parties instead tend to nail their colours to the masts of the voters' ships.
Naturally it was the Helen Clark government that muddied the waters with its 2002 Local Government Act. The Act widened the purpose of local government to include just about everything. That’s when the wheels really came off. Voter apathy increased markedly. Local Government became little more than a gabfest. Rates soared.
Property owners, who had to pay for all this, also became disillusioned with the system. They too started to switch off.
To its credit this National Government has tried to refocus the purpose of the Act to get back to providing core services and infrastructure, but the culture of waste that took hold in the intervening Clark years is hard to break.
If elected I will stick to the purpose of local government which is:
to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.