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It’s good to see democracy alive and well in South Taranaki District, with an increased voter turnout in the local elections.

Central government and local government are separate institutions, although as representatives we all work together in the best interests of Taranaki.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the successful candidates who stood this year. I know Mayor Phil Nixon and South Taranaki’s new-look council will fully commit to the huge amount of work and research on behalf of the public. Talented people have been elected to both the Taranaki Coastal Ward and Community Board, who I’m sure will represent you with distinction.

I offer thanks to those who stood but missed out this time. It takes a great deal of courage to put yourself forward and you should be proud of your effort.

Thanks too, to the people who took the time to vote because the more who do, the clearer message community leaders get of what the public wants. South Taranaki had a preliminary participation rate of 48% on preliminary figures, up 9% from 2016, which bucks the general downward trend around the country.

Based on this year’s results, rural areas seem better than bigger cities when it comes to understanding the importance of voting. There’s a certain responsibility we have as voters to get to know council aspirants and identify what they stand for. Often that’s easier with general elections where there are fewer candidates and the messaging is clearer, running on party lines.

As we turn our attention to next year’s Parliamentary elections I encourage you to look around and find the policies that fit best with you and your family. The fast-paced world of modern media has led to a focus on personalities over policies, but you also have the power to access websites and find out the facts behind the faces. I’m confident you’ll like what the National Party is offering. We have started rolling out our ideas and there’ll be more to come over the next few months at https://www.national.org.nz/haveyoursay . We’re also very interested to hear your thoughts and opinions.

New Zealand has a proud history of healthy democracy, with a free exchange of ideas. I hope that the local elections have sharpened your appetite for Election 2020 and that you will participate. Feel free to contact your local MP, whether it’s me, Barbara Kuriger in Taranaki-King Country or Harete Hipango in the Whanganui electorate, visit the National website and check us out. Your vote makes a difference and when you cast an informed vote, you help shape a government that represents your views. A high voter turnout give a government a stronger mandate to pass the laws that affect all our lives.

The bottom line is you.

Jonathan Young

New Plymouth MP
National Party Spokesperson for: Energy and Resources

National Party Spokesperson for: Regional Economic Development (NI)

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