Nominations are open for Auckland’s local elections taking place in October and voting starts in September.
A total of 170 roles are being contested - the mayoral race, 20 councillors elected to represent the 13 supercity wards, and 149 local representatives elected across the 21 local boards.
Ahead of the elections, and as part of our Future Auckland series, OurAuckland has spoken to Aucklanders to find out their views on democracy in our region, and what they think of Auckland’s future.
Turnout in the most recent mayoral election increased slightly to 38.5%, but that figure is still low. Why do we need to participate in democracy to make sure we get what we want? And can tech help us do that?
Priti Ambani – director of innovation at Tech Futures Lab, where she helps to prepare Kiwi businesses for the technology revolution
We need diverse voices and civic participation to make democracy effective. And we need new ways of adding our voice to the issues that affect our city in a safe and secure way. Technology can definitely support this need.
An example is Upsouth, a civic innovation platform launched in South Auckland to enable young Aucklanders to engage with Auckland Council, share their views on and offer solutions to challenges within their communities.
Why is it important for everyone to vote, speak up and get involved in the local community?
Lawrence Arabia – AKA James Milne – winner Best Alternative Album at the Vodafone Music Awards in 2016:
Higher democratic engagement would be a by-product of a more equal society – I think that voting shows a belief in the ideal of the democratic society, even if the reality remains imperfect.
Johnson Witehira, a leading expert on Māori design and co-founder of Indigenous Design & Innovation Aotearoa.
In order to get young people involved in democracy, we first need to get them to care. Care about each other. Care about people in their communities and care for those with less than themselves.
As many students exit High School they probably become the centre of their own universe. This makes sense considering their newfound independence and having to do all those things mum and dad used to. Paying the rent, paying for a warrant or just doing the shopping. It’s problematic though in that thinking about yourself isn’t what a democracy is about.
A democracy encourages us to think about how what we do affects others. That’s what happens when we vote, right? Somehow we need to carry the enthusiasm and care that children have a young age through into adulthood.
Why would it be beneficial for Asians to get more involved in the city’s democracy?
Jenny Wang – executive director of the Chinese New Settlers Services Trust
Community engagement and civic participation are two great ways for local authorities to make correct decisions on the issues relating to residents, including Asian Aucklanders.
The city’s strategy should be to engage with Asian Aucklanders because they are a big part of our whole community. It could be beneficial for Auckland as a whole if the Asian community gets involved in the city’s democracy.
What do we need more and less of in Auckland by 2050?
Alan Shi – an engineering consultant working in the transport sector.
Less inequality, especially judging by the increasing number of homeless people. I don't think a simple solution exists but I do think this is something that took place gradually and rather than blaming individuals. I think it can only be addressed by improving society as a whole.
What are you seeing now that really gets you excited?
Leilani Momoisea – A Radio New Zealand journalist
Communities are becoming more vocal than ever about making sure they’re not being left out. People are creating their own hubs of artistic creativity, and they’re growing and thriving.
Aucklanders from all walks of life are being encouraged to stand in this year’s local election.
Nomination forms are available via voteauckland.co.nz and must be submitted by midday on 16 August.