Standing for council? Kua tae te wā!

Published on 01 August 2022

Photo of Mayor, Sheryl Mai.

One responsibility and joy that has stood out for me during my years as Mayor of Whangārei is community involvement.  

The importance of elected members’ connection with their community cannot be overstated, it’s the reason we’re here, the main purpose of our role. Without the wider community guiding our decisions, elected members cannot genuinely represent our District, which is what we are sworn to do.

Stand for Council

We are now well into the ‘Stand’ phase of local elections, and it’s exciting to see the calibre of those putting their hats in the ring so far. People from all walks of life, experience levels, ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds are raising their hands to be considered by the community for election. Introduction of the Whangārei District Māori Ward has added to the buzz for the 8 October 2022 elections.

Anyone thinking of running for council has until 12 August to get their nomination in. Don’t wait! Be bold, find two people who live in the ward you are standing in to nominate and second you and then complete the paperwork - it’s not hard, and our customer services team are there to help.  

Stand

I can honestly say, being your Mayor has been the most challenging and most rewarding role of my life. I am honoured to have had this opportunity, and I strongly encourage others to consider contributing to the wider community by standing for election. 

Meet the candidate evenings

Once nominations close, we will see ‘meet the candidate’ evenings promoted by ratepayers’ associations, marae, media and community groups around our District.  

While our council cannot promote these events directly, we encourage people to attend and find out who is proposing to speak on your behalf in Council Chambers. Ask yourself; does this person understand our concerns? Are they willing to listen to us? Will they make time to discuss problems with us when they arise? Will they represent our views within Council? It is essential you understand who is standing, and what they are standing for.  

So please, keep an eye on your local community papers, in the Northern Advocate, on social media, and in community newsletters. Speak with your community groups, ratepayers’ associations and volunteer organisations, friends, and family - find out when and where candidate evenings are and tell your neighbours! This is your chance to meet kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) with those who would speak on your behalf.

Be kind

Finally, please be kind to those standing in these elections. It’s a big responsibility, and the sudden public exposure can be daunting. These brave people have put their hands up to take on a role that can be a greater challenge than they have previously faced. If elected, some decisions made by council could make them unpopular within their communities. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, nerve-wracking, disappointing and it is also exhilarating and rewarding.

Candidates for council are embarking on a journey, potentially into the unknown: so be kind, have patience, and awhi those with the courage to stand. And most of all, use your democratic right and vote when the time comes.

 

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