Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Election process underway

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Warwick Lampp of electionz.com is Rotorua's electoral officer for the local government elections.
Warwick Lampp of electionz.com is Rotorua's electoral officer for the local government elections.

Two people have been officially nominated for election to the Rotorua Lakes Council since nominations opened on Friday.

First to put their names forward were incumbent mayor Steve Chadwick for the mayoralty and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson for one of 10 seats on the council.

As of yesterday afternoon, no nominations had been received for the Lakes District Health Board or the Bay of Plenty Regional Council - they are also holding elections at the same time as councils around the country.

Rotorua's electoral officer Warwick Lampp, of electionz.com based in Christchurch, has encouraged people interested in positions on the Rotorua Lakes Council, the council's Rural Community Board, Rotorua Lakes Community Board and the Lakes District Health Board to head to an upcoming candidate information evening to learn about the ins and outs of getting elected.

The information evening will cover roles and core competencies, council structure, legislation, the nomination and election process, social media, hoardings and signs, and will be held in the council chamber on Monday July 25 from 5pm to 7pm.

"It is very important for people to have their say on council elections, if you don't vote, you're not in a position to make any comment or complaint about what the council might do or not do that you don't like," Mr Lampp said.

"Councils do a very crucial role in the community and in our daily lives and it's most appropriate for people to take close attention to that and vote accordingly.

"It's not about being a ratepayer, it's being a resident. As a resident you are touched by council every day, when you turn on your water, and flush the loo, drive on the roads and deal with parking, go for a boardwalk or a bike ride, register your dog - all that stuff is managed by council.

"We need a range of elected members of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to ensure our council represents the diversity of our community. Anyone over the age of 18 can stand for election as long as they are a New Zealand citizen and enrolled on the electoral roll."

There has also been a big push by Local Government New Zealand to get people voting in this year's elections because voter turnout has dropped significantly over the last 20 years.

Rotorua Lakes Council is participating in Local Government New Zealand's Vote 2016 campaign which aims to lift nationwide voter turnout in local elections to more than 50 per cent - a first since the 1980s.

In the 2013 election just 43.44 per cent of eligible Rotorua voters had their say.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission is asking people who have not received an enrolment update letter in the post to get in touch with them to check their enrolment details.

Update letters were sent earlier this month with 842 of them being sent back marked "gone, no address".

People wanting to vote in the elections must be on the roll by August 12, or will have to cast a special vote.

Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden said if you had moved house and not updated your enrolment details you would have been removed from the electoral roll and would not be able to vote unless you re-enrolled.

"Local elections are held by postal vote, so it's really important that we get people enrolled at the correct address and ready to have their say," says Mr Peden.

Election timetable
- July 15: Nominations open
- July 25: Candidate information evening 5pm to 7pm, Council Chamber
- August 12: Nominations close at midday
- September 16-21: Voting documents delivered by post
- September 16 to October 8: Special voting period
- October 8: Election Day, voting closes at midday

Other information
- Visit www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/Vote2016 for Rotorua Lakes Council election information
- Visit www.boprc.govt.nz for Bay of Plenty Regional Council election information
- Visit www.lakesdhb.govt.nz for Lakes District Health Board election information
- To enrol to vote visit www.elections.org.nz, free text your name and address to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56, or go in to any PostShop

- Rotorua Daily Post

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