Address relevance questioned
Would you vote for a local politician that doesn't live in the area they want to represent?
Would you vote for a local politician who doesn't live in your area?
Changes to the Local Electoral Act mean that voting papers will now say whether a candidate lives in the area they are campaigning for.
The changes have some candidates concerned about being treated unfairly by voters.
Judy Lawley sits on the Waitakere Ranges Local Board but she lives "a couple of minutes' walk" outside of the board's boundary.
"I chose the ranges because of the work that needed doing in Glen Eden. I think it's unfair to make this an issue that could affect the way someone votes," Ms Lawley says.
In the voting booklet that comes out near the end of September, each candidate can write 150 words about themselves but the disclosure of whether they live inside or outside the electorate will be written separately.
Ms Lawley feels this is putting too much emphasis on where they live rather than what they have achieved and the issues they are campaigning on.
"Is the position of my family home relevant to the work I do on the local board? I have served the west for 12 years, nine of those on the Waitakere City Council. I think my history as an elected member should come first"
Local government minister Chris Tremain says the new rules will give voters more information and ensure a robust, democratic process.
"The public rightfully expects high levels of transparency and confidence in the conduct of all public elections. Electors voted for more than 1800 representatives on more than 250 local authorities. The extent of local authority elections means the changes the bill will make are very important," Mr Tremain says.
This year Christine Rose who lives near Kumeu is running for the Waitakere ward seat on the council.
She says that while it is only a line drawn on a map there might be connotations that come from a candidate living in a different area.
The criteria for becoming a candidate for the licensing trusts are even stricter, you have to live in the area to even be considered.
The changes to the act will clamp down on anonymous donations and clear up the rules around donations from pooled sources such as trust funds. Candidates will have to disclose whether donations have been made up of pooled funds and the names and addresses of any individuals contributing more than $1500.
This also means a candidate cannot accept an anonymous donation of more than $1500.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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