Let’s vote: Make our voices count
While it might seem a long way away, it’s not too early to think about this year’s Council elections. On October 12 residents will vote for the mayor and councillors, as well as the members of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.
Every New Zealander who is over 18 and lives here can vote in the Hastings election, provided they are enrolled. This includes citizens and permanent residents, even if they were born in another country. In the past there has been some confusion over whether it is limited to ratepayers (property owners). This is not the case – tenants have the same right as landlords to vote, as long as they are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, and aged over 18.
In many ways the local council and health board elections are more important than the national elections.
Councillors and the mayor decide things like what rates you pay (even if you rent this is important as your rent is used to pay the rates), what roads and footpaths are repaired and when, how close to your boundary fence you can put your garden shed, where new suburbs can be built, and where people can park their cars.
The health board oversees our Hawke’s Bay hospital services, including running hospital wards and operating theatres, and decides things like what health education programmes to focus on in the community to help people avoid illness.
We will be reminding you of the important dates again but, in the meantime, think about what is important to you and how you will go about finding out which candidates will best fit with your desires for our community.