Motueka Community Board by-election could cost up to $30,000
If a by-election is required to fill a vacancy on the Motueka Community Board, it may cost up to $30,000.
However, it won't be needed if there are no other nominations by a December 22 deadline. As of Thursday morning, just one nomination had been received – for former Tasman District councillor Barry Dowler.
If one candidate only is nominated, no election is required. In the case of an election, voting papers will be delivered late January with voting closing at noon on polling day, February 17. Preliminary results are expected to be released the same day.
The extraordinary vacancy on the Motueka Community Board was created after former chairman Paul Hawkes was elected unopposed as a community board member and also won a place around the TDC table as a ward councillor. Legislation required Hawkes to take up the higher position.
In a report on the matter, electoral officer Sandra Hartley says the cost of a by-election is likely to be up to $30,000, for which there was no funding in the budget. The TDC community development committee approved the unbudgeted expenditure for a by-election, if required.
Dowler served as a Motueka Ward councillor on TDC for three terms before missing out on re-election by 40 votes in October. Before that, he served for more than four years on the community board.
In her report, Hartley also highlighted some statistical data associated with the 2016 local body elections.
Voter turnout across Tasman was 49.36 per cent, down from 50.38 per cent in 2013. However, the 2016 Tasman turnout compared favourably with the national voter turnout of 42 per cent. The highest turnout was for the Golden Bay Ward at 58.24 per cent, up from 57.63 per cent 2013, while the Motueka Ward had the lowest turnout at 46.41 per cent, down from 50.18 per cent in 2013.
"The electoral officers' debrief showed that Denmark has the highest turnout in the world – 88 per cent – but they do have civic education at schools compulsory," Hartley told councillors.
In her report, she says low voter turnout is a national problem, which electoral officers believe may change with online voting.
The residential electoral roll received from the Electoral Commission consisted of 36,547 people registered as parliamentary electors who reside in the Tasman district, up from 35,092 in 2013. There were 216 on the ratepayer roll in 2016 compared with 209 in 2013.
Ratepayer electors reside outside the district and have enrolled or been nominated as an elector in respect of a property within the district. They could also reside in one ward within the district but own a property in either Motueka or Golden Bay wards, which would entitle them to have a community board vote.