Here’s your public service announcement for Friday before we move onto a further analysis of candidates, some random thoughts on voting in the local body elections.
Only vote for those you want to see in Council
Loki clearly designed the STV system. It’s complicated, full of trickery, and has a devilish counting system built-in that has all the characteristics of the labyrinth.
In short, you only want to vote for candidates that you want to see in Council, do not be tempted to rank all candidates on your form. Only number, in ranked order, the candidates that you’d like to see forming our new Council. Ranking other candidates can see votes transferred to people you didn’t want to vote for at all. I know, right?
Voting for Party Backed Candidates
Candidates come in two flavours. Independent, or Party Backed.
Independents are just that, or should be, they have no affiliation to a central political party and are generally better equipped to represent their communities. They are not led by central party policy.
Party Backed candidates are backed by a central political party. For example, the Labour Party is running five candidates in the WCC election plus the Mayor. The Green Party if also running candidates.
Now, there is nothing wrong with voting for a Party Backed candidate, however; you need to realise that they are at the whim of the Party, not the community.
In other words, the central Party will tell them how to vote, what policies to adopt, and probably manage most of their communications. If you are a central Party supporter and you’re happy for decisions to be made their, rather than community level, then vote away for Party Backed candidates.
In Wellington, Labour and the Greens are trying very hard to get a range of candidates onto the Council, plus the Mayor. If they can get that majority, then all the independents have no voice so Labour and the Greens can dictate policy to the city via their Council puppets.
Buses are not something that local Councillors can fix.
It is my observation that many candidates are claiming they can fix the bus situation. This is entirely untrue and very naughty campaigning. They are appealing to a misconception that the WCC has control over the public transport system through popular politicking to grab your vote.
They can’t fix it, have no control, and while they can influence it, they can’t change it. Don’t believe the hype. Voting for Party Puppets won’t help, because Central Government has refused to get involved in the issue.
What you can do is vote for your Greater Wellington Regional Council candidates who can influence the bus issue, and that is where the debate should be occurring.
When you strip out the bus issue, you are left with a lot of candidates with no other policy. They’re not worth casting a vote for. I’d also be very cautious over any promises around LGWN for the same reasons. The WCC has very little control (who does, JAG?) over that process at all and Central Government are probably keeping their powder dry to pork barrel transport at next year’s general election.
Pull out buses and LGWM from candidate promises.
Dream, Build, or Maintain?
Candidates, in fact, most people, come in three flavours when they are working.
There are dreamers, visionaries, strategic thinkers that often come up with long-term ideas for a city, such as an airport extension, convention centre, monorails, and other fancy such ideas.
We need dreamers otherwise, our city won’t evolve.
Then there are builders. Those that turn plans into reality. They get shit done.
The there are maintainers. Those that see a 70% plus increase in rates looming in the next five years, a dead heart of the city, creaking infrastructure, all the maintenance requirements of a complex town, and move to reduce cost while getting the basics right.
Ask yourself. Is it time to dream? Time to build? Or time to deal with the basics? Then, look at your candidate, are they dreamers, builders, or maintainers?
Given that we can’t afford LGWN right now, which is ok, because no one can figure out what it is anyway, and we have mounting debt, massively rising rates, and core issues that are not being funded, ask yourself how a candidate is actually going to make something happen.
This particularly relates to the Mayoral candidates.
Pork Barreling is “the utilisation of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes” or the promise thereof.
So when you read candidate promises look for “how” they are going to achieve it and how we are going to afford it, as opposed to believing the hype.
Don’t forget candidates past performance
Candidates running for re-election often carry portfolios for which they are responsible over the triennium.
When considering candidates, ask yourself, did they help make things better or worse in the last three years? Who is in charge of transport for example? Is transport better or worse now? How about housing?
Non-performers should not be allowed to forget their performance record over the past three years and make promises anew in election times without being held to account.
New candidates should hold incumbents to account.