I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the successful candidates who stood in last month’s local elections.
Holding public office is a serious commitment, requiring huge amounts of reading, public interaction, and objective decision-making. I know that re-elected Mayor Neil Holdom and his new-look council will work hard on our behalf.
Well done to all those elected and thank you to everyone who had the courage to stand on behalf of us all, whether at a Community Board, Health Board, Council or Mayoral level. Thanks too, to those who took the time to vote, because the more people who do, the clearer message our leaders get of what the public wants.
A democracy doesn’t work unless you participate, which is why the continued trend of declining voting rates is of concern - preliminary figures show 44.73% of eligible people voted in New Plymouth District. Local and Central Government are separate entities, but there are aspects of the 2019 campaign that have been under close scrutiny ahead of next year’s general election and voter apathy is the big one.
In the 2017 election, voter turnout in New Plymouth Electorate was around 80%. In many ways Parliamentary elections are less complicated, with fewer candidates to choose from, more media exposure and more focus on voting day (although early voting is encouraged).
In terms of Election 2020, I encourage you to start getting involved and informed. Research the policies that matter to you. Visit the websites and read up on the people and the plans. The National Party has started rolling out policy ideas and there’ll be more to come over the next few months at https://www.national.org.nz/haveyoursay
Disillusion and mistrust are sometimes cited as reasons for not voting, based on a belief that politicians are unable to relate. I can assure you that in this country, your Parliamentarians are well aware of the challenges you’re facing. Often we’ve confronted those same challenges ourselves or we may have families and friends who’ve worked through them or are in that process. Electorate MPs like myself see first-hand the effects of government policies, and keep our constituents top of mind with everything we do.
History tells us that a healthy democracy encourages a free exchange of ideas leading to a higher voter turnout and a clear direction from the people. By voting, you help decide who makes the decisions and laws that affect all our lives. Your vote makes a difference and when you cast an informed vote, you are part of making sure we’re heading in the right direction. Together we can develop a plan to deliver on the things that are important to you.
New Plymouth MP
National Party Spokesperson for: Energy and Resources
National Party Spokesperson for: Regional Economic Development (NI)