Councils collaborate to promote election participation

With Local Government elections fast approaching, Southland Councils are banding together to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the democratic process, as well as encouraging people to vote.

Invercargill City Council, Southland District Council, Gore District Council, and Environment Southland are coming together in collaboration for Vote Murihiku 2022 to encourage as many people as possible across Murihiku Southland to take part in the elections this year.

Invercargill City Council Chief Executive Clare Hadley is an advocate for a diverse council table. The Councils have collaborated to present a series of online events to help de-mystify the democratic process.

“It is absolutely crucial that councils have a diverse set of representatives. A council cannot make the best decisions for the community if it doesn’t reflect the community.”

The ‘Can I stand for local elections?’ series will feature three online livestreamed events across March and April, hosted by radio personality Steve Broad via Facebook Live. Broad will facilitate discussion with a diverse range of elected members from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, all of whom have a unique story to tell about their experiences.

“We want to show people what being a councillor or a mayor or a community board member is really like, gathering details of how one would go about getting on the ballot through to how it affects your social life. It’s the information you don’t always have handed to you.”

Gore District Council Chief Executive Stephen Parry said being an elected member was like a front row seat on how to shape and improve the community you cared about.

“We need people from diverse backgrounds, different generational perspectives and genders to get the best of what the community has to offer,” he said.

Environment Southland Chief Executive Rob Phillips said there had never been a more interesting time to become a councillor, with so much change and opportunities for local government.

“Being a councillor is all about making a real difference for our communities and ensuring a positive future for our children and grandchildren.”

Southland District Council Chief Executive Cameron McIntosh said all communities needed a voice at local government level, because of what councils look after.

“We are here for the community, that’s our reason for being, and so we need community people to put their hand up and say ‘I can’ make a difference as a councillor or a community board member,” he said.

“Vote Murihiku and the online forums will be just some of the channels used to enable people to understand what they would be taking on, why they should stand and why it is so important that people vote.”

The livestream events begin this week and run on March 31, April 7 and on April 28.

Panel speakers involved in the ‘Can I stand for local elections?’ series are Central Hawke’s Bay District Mayor Alex Walker, Far North District Councillor Moko Tepania, Environment Canterbury Councillors Lan Pham, Craig Pauling and Tane Apanui, along with Palmerston North City Council Deputy Mayor Aleisha Rutherford and former Nelson City Council deputy mayor Ali Boswijk.

For more information, or to watch the live events, visit the Vote Murihiku 2022 Facebook page at