Some of the new mayors elected across the country (Images: supplied, RNZ)
Some of the new mayors elected across the country (Images: supplied, RNZ)

The BulletinOctober 10, 2022

Fresh faces and the calls to ‘fix’ local government elections

Some of the new mayors elected across the country (Images: supplied, RNZ)
Some of the new mayors elected across the country (Images: supplied, RNZ)

Plenty of local government election analysis as the victors get ready to make good on their promises while calls for an inquiry to improve voter turnout mount, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in The Bulletin


Races still tight at top of the north and bottom of the south

By now I imagine you’ll know who your mayor and councillors are based on the progressive results released on Saturday. Plenty of coverage and results on The Spinoff to scroll if you need to catch up. It’s not a done deal until the special votes are counted and the final declarations are made. It’s still on a knife’s edge at the top and bottom of the country. Special votes have put Moko Tepania ahead of Ann Court in the Far North. It’s very tight in Gore where they could have a new, 23-year-old mayor, making Gore home to the youngest mayor in New Zealand.

Winds of change

In a good summary of the shift seen across the country, Stuff’s Kevin Norquay perhaps drew inspiration from German rock band Scorpions, writing “Spring winds of change blowing through local government elections”. Hayden Donnell makes his assessment of the winners and losers from the elections, concluding that he is the biggest loser of all as he contemplates “three more years of screaming into the void of local politics, hoping it screams back.” David Farrar described the results, which saw many left wing candidates dip out, as the “slaughter of the lambs”.

Voters want delivery 

In Auckland, new mayor Wayne Brown will be getting set to make the 14 minute walk to work, where he’ll be meeting the CEO of Auckland Council and taking a look at the books. He took a helicopter ride yesterday to “survey the realm”. Auckland Transport chair Adrienne Young-Cooper stepped down yesterday after Brown called for the entire board to resign. The rest of the board says they will stay on. For now. Politik’s Richard Harman writes that the result in Auckland will worry the government. Harman puts Brown’s win down to “rigorous polling” which found that voters were “angry and fed up with big visions and ideology and just wanted the Auckland Council to focus on the basics”. Harman thinks that could have implications for the government’s reform agenda.

Goff’s big idea for “fixing” local government 

Voter turnout estimates across the country are sitting at around 36%. There have been plenty of calls for inquiries and reviews into the local government electoral system on top of the normal review process and upcoming local government reform. Later morning on The Spinoff, Toby Manhire looks at what changes could be made to improve the situation. I recommend listening to the latest episode of Gone by Lunchtime. Feeling a bit liberated as he wraps up a 40-year career in politics, outgoing Auckland mayor Phil Goff talks to Manhire about his career and shares his thoughts on local government. His ideas for making it more relevant to people are far bigger than the necessary but incremental changes likely to be proposed in any review. In short, it’s devolution baby. Finally, full credit to The Spinoff’s local government elections team who have, by my bleary-eyed count this morning, filed over 60 stories on election races, candidates and issues from across the country over the last two months. More than enough for mallowpuff.

Keep going!