I was at a meet-the-candidates event this week when I overheard a candidate asking about the opportunity to introduce themselves because they might not be known to everyone.
The reply? "That's on you."
I disagree. While candidates have a responsibility to make themselves known, it is equally up to the voting public to familiarise themselves with the options available and what they offer.
Some of the people standing for election in our Bay of Plenty electorates don't actually want your vote as an individual. They want people to vote for the party they represent.
So a tick next to their name would be a waste of time.
Others are campaigning for the individual vote so we want to know what they will do for us if elected.
At the event some candidates focused on the past - what their party had achieved and what Opposition parties had failed to achieve or what another candidate may have failed to mention.
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I'd rather hear what they will do if elected than hear petty digs at other candidates and see them roll their eyes or fold their arms when a fellow candidate says something they disagree with.
From the two-hour meet-the-candidates event I not only learned where they stood on a few key issues and the referenda, I also learned who said they would attend the event but didn't, whether they could keep to a 10-minute speech time cap, how they reacted under pressure as time ran out and how they reacted when put on the spot with questions.
It is our public duty to elect people we think will best represent us, just as it is elected members' duty to represent their constituents to the best of their ability.
And the only way to figure out who is best is to do the research.
That means reading bios and keeping up with the news at a minimum or heading to a meet the candidates event to ask them your own questions if you have the time.
If you don't know who's standing in your electorate and why, what they are standing for and what they plan to do, that's on you.