Kia ora koutou, 

Its in our bones. We male an effort to vote in the general elections, or at least the large majority of us do, but the local? Its seems not. I have to admit to a feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ myself.

I don’t think its my fault.

I think it’s the fault of those few who get elected. I have never seen one, not one of them has ever knocked on my door, texted, emailed, or rung me. In the last weeks leading up to election I might get a couple of publicity emails but that would be pushing it. If you asked me if that woman or that man was a councillor I would have no idea.

The problem is that, unlike their counterparts in government elections, they probably don’t have much of a publicity fund and also perhaps, they are untrained in putting themselves up for public scrutiny.

I might also be that a few well-heeled and well-connected ones are simply voted in because something about their name seems familiar.

I read emails, I read Newsroom and Spinoff, I listen to the radio. I have a microscope which helps me read the local papers. I don’t watch TV because I have difficulty seeing it and gave mine away, but I could say, truthfully, that I’m fairly well informed. Also the only time I see much about councillors or hopefuls, is at this time every three years. Is it three years even? Maybe its four?

I tend to think I’m not alone. Unless you’re behind the scenes, or a family or friend of one of the contenders, its hard to work up any enthusiasm at all. I used to have a friend who would take his wife for a Sunday afternoon drive to look at telegraph poles because he’d made the poles. Its hard to work up much enthusiasm about telegraph poles (except when they’re down and not working) and she very soon ran out of adjectives to describe just how beautiful they were and what a marvellous telegraph pole-maker he was. She told me on the Monday she’d be studying Roget’s Thesaurus before she went on another Sunday drive. I found this attitude puzzling but decided it was her life. If she wanted to spend it waxing eloquently about telegraph poles who was I to interfere?

The only time I’ve ever got vocal about the local council was a few years ago when they dug up Main Street and in the ensuing chaos did nothing to help old people or those in wheelchairs, on walkers, disabled by poor eyesight or other problems, traverse the site to go to the supermarket or medical centre. I thought at the time, they don’t care about us, why should we care about them?

My conscience tells me I should vote in the local elections so I probably will but I have no criticism of those who don’t. I’m sure there are dedicated, energetic, intelligent people standing — its just that I have not met them. They are a grey nebulous blur or a misty photograph on a page or email and I’m sure I’m the same to them.

However, what this attitude of mine says is that I cannot blame them if things happen that I don’t approve of. If I can’t be bothered to organise going out and voting, why should they care about anything I want? 

Hmm…

Renée