In the 2019 Auckland Local Body Elections, I undertook the largest single-handed candidate rating guide in New Zealand political history. Voter turnout in local body elections has been steadily declining for decades, Auckland’s turnout ub 2016 was a sad 38%. I think the main reason for this is that local body elections are complicated!
The vote is postal, yet I only bother to check my letterbox once a week to transfer its contents to my recycling bin. I don’t think it is practical to change from postal voting because of the time and thought that I hope goes into casting your local body vote.
There are a lot of positions to vote for. Voters largely don’t know what each body does and many of the candidates don’t know either. This includes:
- The Mayor
- Your Councillor (1 in some wards, 2 in others)
- Your Local Board (some are elected altogether, by casting up to 7 votes in a FPP manner. Others are split into 2 or 3 subgroups, each with different numbers of candidates to elect.
- The District Health Board. Half are appointed. Seven are elected and instead of just ticking who you support, it is an STV election in which candidates are ranked from 1. There is no minimum number you must rank but if you insist on ranking every candidate (as I do), you could be ranking over 30 candidates. Easy to fuck that up if you miss a number.
- Live in West Auckland? The coercive monopoly still manages all alcohol retail trade and you vote for them too.
In the end, averaging one contest a day, I couldn’t rate every single contest in Auckland, but I did manage to complete ???
After reviewing each candidate’s blurb and googling them, I ranked each on a $ to $$$$$ scale. $$$$$ means they’re great $ terrible. However that wasn’t a fair enough ranking system because this contest attracts some complete clowns. They were ranked on a one to five clown scale too.