Bryce Edwards ' Opinion

Bryce Edwards is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago.

Dr Bryce Edwards: Cancel the elections and start again?

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The administration of this election has been woeful, with numerous cases of incorrect voting forms. Photo / Richard Robinson
The administration of this election has been woeful, with numerous cases of incorrect voting forms. Photo / Richard Robinson

Authorities keep telling us of our duty to vote in the local government elections. They haven't made a very compelling case, and so far the public have responded to this hectoring with an electoral shrug of the shoulders. Voter turnout across the country looks to be the lowest in living memory. Perhaps that's a good thing. It sends a very strong message that the system is broken.

Why should voters take the election seriously when the authorities themselves don't? The administration of this current election has been woeful, with numerous cases throughout the country of incorrect voting forms being mailed out, as well as incomplete candidate information being distributed. In other countries there would be calls for boycotts. In fact there's probably a case for cancelling this election and starting again.

If we had new elections, it'd be great to actually have some decent electoral choice too - the options this year have hardly been inspiring.

The new mayors and councillors will barely have a mandate given the extreme lack of interest.

We're always being patronised with the cliché that "if you don't vote you can't complain". That's never made sense, but for this current dysfunctional election, it's perhaps more the case that "if you do choose to vote, then you're complicit in propping up this broken system". Of course, it's unrealistic to cancel the elections, but local government and its elections desperately need reform.

- Herald on Sunday

Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago.

Bryce Edwards is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago. He teaches and researches on New Zealand politics, public policy, political parties, elections, and political communication. His PhD, completed in 2003, was on 'Political Parties in New Zealand: A Study of Ideological and Organisational Transformation'. He is currently working on a book entitled 'Who Runs New Zealand? An Anatomy of Power'. He is also on the board of directors for Transparency International New Zealand.

Read more by Bryce Edwards

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