Disappointed at uncontested seat

By Alexandra Newlove -
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Northland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske says there are a number of factors contributing to a low candidate turnout across the country.
Northland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske says there are a number of factors contributing to a low candidate turnout across the country.

To be elected by default in October's Local Government Elections is "disappointing" for one of the Northland candidates, after a low candidate turnout.

The Electoral Commission released provisional candidate lists for Northland's four councils over the weekend " to be confirmed today " with numbers well down on the last election in 2013.

Melanie Dalziel is one of 10 candidates set to be elected unopposed to Far North District Council's community boards, and likened her mood to a "deflated balloon", when realising her position on Te Hiku Community Board (North Cape Subdivision) would go uncontested.

"I'm actually quite disappointed," Ms Dalziel said.

"Not that I'm competitive, but there are so many skilled people in my ward."

FNDC also had two mayoral candidates - John Carter and Peter Gill - compared with four in the last elections in 2013.

Twenty-two were vying for nine council seats, compared with 2013's 33 candidates, and 28 (37 in 2013) were going for the 19 community board seats.

Ms Dalziel, 43, said a stagnant candidate pool could be addressed through more mentorship of young people.

"It would be really really neat ... for the elderly people who are involved in local government to look at some upcoming younger people and try to mentor them," she said.

Northland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said there were "a number of factors" contributing to a low candidate turnout across the country.

"Not everyone understands the role of local government and the impact it has on their lives," Mr Ofsoske said.

"Also, we all lead pretty busy lives ... If you're working full time, it's hard, as a lot of the meetings are during the day."

Nineteen people were contesting Northland Regional Council's nine seats, compared with 32 who stood in 2013.

Eight of this year's candidates were sitting councillors, with Graeme Ramsey the only one to step down.

Kaipara District Council would likely see four contest the mayoralty - Greg Gent, Bruce Rogan, Christian Simon and Jay Ben Tane - and 15 run for seats on council.

This compared to the 25 candidates who stood for Kaipara's mayoralty and council in 2010.

Numbers were marginally healthier in Whangarei, where all 13 current councillors are back for more.

All up, 44 were in the race for councillor positions, equal to 2013.

But the number of mayoral candidates had halved.

The 12 from 2013 has become six: Incumbent Sheryl Mai was challenged by sitting councillor Stuart Bell, David Blackley from Go Whangarei, Ash Holwell and Matt Keene from TogetherTahi and independent Kay Brittenden.

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