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21 June 2019

The Masterton District Council has launched a new campaign to boost voter turnout in October’s local body elections.

In the last local government election in 2016 voter turnout was below the national average for provincial areas; 44.7 per cent compared to the average of 45.7 per cent.

The Council wants to boost that figure and has designed a campaign featuring local people to demonstrate its relevance and motivate people to vote.

Chief Executive Kath Ross said local government has a challenge communicating its impact on day-to-day living in New Zealand.

“The Masterton District Council makes decisions that affect everyone’s lives – whether it be decisions around the water people drink, the footpaths they walk on, roads they drive on or parks and recreation space,” Ms Ross said.

“Many people think if they don’t pay rates local government doesn’t impact them – thousands of people in Masterton are missing out on helping choose who makes the decisions in our district.”

The first phase of the campaign encourages people to stand as a candidate for election. With nominations opening on 19th July, Ms Ross said people should start thinking about getting involved.

“We need a mix of candidates of all ages, demographics and backgrounds to ensure our Masterton community is well represented around the Council table.

“Successful candidates will be supported with professional development and training opportunities. There is also plenty of information about what’s required of candidates on the Masterton District Council website.”

The subsequent phases of the campaign focus on encouraging people to enrol to vote and then making sure their voice is heard by filling out and submitting their voting papers.

“In these phases of the campaign people will start to see and hear familiar members of the Masterton community sharing why they’re voting. We thought there was no better way to encourage involvement than by having local advocates for our democratic process.”

Voting will open in three months’ time on 20th September with the polls closing at 12 noon on 12th October.