Next Friday, 16 August, nominations close at midday for the 2019 local elections. It is the last chance for people wanting to stand for Council to submit their nomination forms.
Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie, said that local government elections were a key part of New Zealand's democracy and people should make sure they are enrolled to vote and put their hand up to represent their community before the closing date.
"Ōpōtiki District Council touches almost every aspect of the community – supplying safe drinking water, dealing with solid waste, roading, parks and recreation, animal control, liquor licensing, the library and isite, and so much more.
"Councillors and mayors are elected to make decisions and represent the needs and interests of their community. Good governance is vital to balancing the community's short term and long term needs and desires. If you think you can balance the competing roles, if you are over the age of 18, a New Zealand citizen and enrolled on the electoral roll, then I encourage you to get your nomination in well in advance of the Friday deadline. Don't leave it to the last minute and risk missing out," Ms Lawrie said.
In Ōpōtiki, you can stand for Mayor, a Councillor for the Coast, Waioeka/Waiōtahe or Ōpōtiki Wards, a Coast Community Board member as well as Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Bay of Plenty District Health Board members.
The Council website has a lot of information that will be helpful to potential candidates, particularly the pre-election report.
"The pre-election report is a legal requirement and we must produce one because it provides a snapshot in time – a 2019 'Council in a nutshell'. It is full of plenty of information to encourage informed debate ahead of the 2019 Local Government elections. It has information such as facts and figures on the district, issues facing Council in the coming years, key projects, things Council is committed to (for example through Long Term Plans and Annual Plans) and so on. It means that election debate is all based on the same data," Ms Lawrie said.
The Chief Executive also took the opportunity to remind candidates that there were rules and requirements around electioneering and candidates or potential candidates needed to familiarise themselves with the rules on the website.
"There are a lot of technical details about when and where you can campaign for election. There are financial considerations, there are rules about erecting signage, and there are strict rules about not using Council resources, meetings or places to support your campaign.
"The one that is most likely to trip people up is electioneering on Council's Facebook page. Our audience and our page cannot be used by a candidate to promote themselves as part of an election campaign.
"I really encourage candidates to read the candidate handbook and other resources on the Council website to ensure that we have an open and transparent election campaign and stay within our legal requirements," Ms Lawrie said.