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Monday, July 15, 2024
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It’s all over now

By Don Farmer

[email protected]

Within a few hours of readers receiving their Times-Age today the results of the local body elections will become known.

In the main they will be preliminary results but unless there is only a vote or two difference between candidates you can pretty much take the Saturday results as being the final make-up for the next term.

By all accounts voter turnout has been low again, in some areas we are told there has been an improvement but overall the voting response has been pathetic.

That situation is not unique to Wairarapa of course, apathy is an illness nationwide.

Democracy is not a perfect system but it sure beats most, if not all, alternatives that have been tested over the years and it is sad to realise it is so taken for granted that people can’t even muster the energy to fill out a postal voting form and return it.

Returning officers do their level best to make sure all eligible voters are enrolled but that’s where it ends really.

There is no method known, other than fining people for failing to vote, to ensure voting is actually carried out.

Never mind, that aside the good thing to come out of it all is that we will be able as from later today to see what we have got and settle down to keeping an eye on how those who have succeeded in getting themselves elected perform.

There has to be a new mayor in South Wairarapa and in Tararua and those two areas are likely to provide the most interesting result of the elections.

At last count the bid to become mayor in both those districts was reflected in higher voter turnouts than elsewhere.

It would be an odd election if there weren’t a few surprises along the way and it is those that most people will hone in on.

This term is going to be exceptional anyway because with the future of Local Body governance in Wairarapa far from having been solved the whole shape of the council set-up in Wairarapa could quickly alter.

Those who have sought office are all well aware of that fact and the prospect the organisation they may be elected to could radically alter, perhaps within a single term.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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