Register to vote

Local body elections will be held from 17th September to 9th October this year. You can vote if you are a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident, are 18 years old or older, and have lived in New Zealand continuously for at least one year. To receive your voting papers, you need to register by Friday 20th August. If you have registered but moved, you need to send your change of address to the registrar of electors. This is easy to do. You can go to any Post Shop and fill in a form, you can text your name and address to 3676, you can phone 0800 36 76 56 or you can register on-line at www.elections.org.nz.

Local body elections are held every three years. You vote for the mayor and councillors in your district, town or city, for community board members and for hospital board members. It is a postal vote ā€“ you vote then post the voting papers in the envelope provided by midday October 9th.

Hospital Board voting uses single transferable voting (STV). With this type of voting, you rank each candidate. This means that you give your first choice number 1, second choice 2 and so on. Most other local voting uses First Past the Post ā€“ FPP. With this type of voting, you tick the people you want to vote for. If you are allowed to vote for two people, then you tick two people only.

It is not easy to know who will be good councillors or board members. The local newspaper usually gives you some information about each candidate and sometimes candidates put some information in your mail box. They might also have a website. Candidates for the job of mayor are often on TV or radio.

For the first time, Aucklanders will vote for the mayor and councillors of the new super-city. Listen to March 29th 2009 for more about the new super-city.

Questions
1. How can you know if a candidate will be a good councillor? What information will you look for?
2. What qualities should a mayor have?
3. We pay rates (property taxes) to councils. What do city and district councils do?






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