Why should Aucklanders bother to vote in local elections?
That’s the question actor, writer and comedian Oscar Kightley will pose when he leads this month’s Auckland Conversations panel.
Kightley says the 15 August event - titled Voting: Why bother? - promises to be both thought-provoking and entertaining.
“Local elections are just so damn important, and yet only 38.5 percent of Aucklanders had their say in 2016.
“With just a few weeks until the local election, it’s time to have a serious discussion about the state of local democracy.”
The free event, at Queen Street’s Q Theatre, starts at 5pm, and people can register to attend via the Auckland Conversations website. Attendees will be encouraged to ask the panel questions, as will people who watch the event via livestream.
Panellists include journalist Hayden Donnell, RockEnrol chair Laura O'Connell Rapira, Massey University senior lecturer Karl Kane, lawyer Marina Matthews, and former councillor Michael Goudie.
Despite a low level of interest in local elections in the past, O'Connell Rapira says she’s optimistic for the future, with a growing number of young people becoming politically active.
“We are living in an exciting moment. Young people throughout Aotearoa are stepping up to change the makeup of who makes decisions in local government.
“Right now, less than one percent of councillors are under the age of 30, despite that group making up a third of the population, so this groundswell could not have come at a better time.”
Karl Kane leads Massey’s Design and Democracy project, which aims to engage younger voters.
He says the idea that young people aren’t interested in politics simply isn’t true.
“New Zealand's governance, built upon 18th century British ideas of citizenship, is a system increasingly out of sync with the reality of their hyper-connected 21st-century Pacific lives.
“But if you count the number of young people who are today involved in an active political concern, while diverse and directed in many directions, it is higher than in the 1960s.”
Visit the OurAuckland event listing for more information.
The local elections take place from 20 September until 12 October. People must be enrolled at their current address by 16 August to receive their voting papers in the mail.
People can enrol or update their details by visiting vote.nz, calling 0800 36 76 56, or by visiting any PostShop.
Candidate nominations for the elections also close at midday on 16 August.
A range of resources for candidates and voters are available on the voteauckland website, including the 2019 pre-election report.
16 August - Electoral roll closes / Candidate nominations close at midday / Preliminary list of candidates published after 5pm
21 August - Candidates announced
20 September - Voting opens
8 October - Last day to post voting papers (ballot boxes will still be open)
12 October - Voting closes at midday / Progress results announced
17-23 October - Official results announced