With less than 12 months until the next local government election, the recent low voter turnouts are causing concern for one Hamilton city councillor.
Angela O'Leary, who has been a member of council for 11 years, is working with local community groups to find out why Hamilton residents are not voting.
In the 2016 elections, only 33 per cent of eligible voters in Hamilton were involved in choosing the current mayor and councillors, and councillor O'Leary said that is not good enough.
She is hosting two talks on December 10 as the start of a mission to get in front of 15,000 people to encourage them get out on voting day.
"My goal is to get in front of 15,000 people before October 2019. It's a big goal and I'm determined," Ms O'Leary said.
"I'm excited to share insights into why people don't vote and what can be done about it," she said.
Last week, both Ms O'Leary and first-term councillor Paula Southgate attended a meeting organised by Hamilton resident and FreeFM radio host Kelli Pike, to encourage more women to run for council.
More than a dozen people turned out to hear the councillors share their experience and knowledge about the role of a councillor.
One barrier that was brought up at the meeting was the need to juggle family commitments and finances.
"We discussed it costing about $5000 for a newcomer with no name recognition to stand — so the decision to stand needs to bear this risk in mind — especially when incumbents have such a high chance of being re-elected. There are things you can do to reduce campaign costs and that is something we will address next year as a group — including any others interested in standing," Ms Pike said.
"Women tend to be the primary caregiver so are more mindful of having to consider the logistics of child care in what can be a demanding schedule for councillors."
"While considered not to be a full time role, meetings are scheduled between 9am and 9pm. We did see former councillor Karina Green often criticised for leaving during meetings which doesn't foster a particularly family-friendly idea of council," Ms Pike said.
Ms Southgate spoke about the impact on families of the campaign and the need for supporters who can help in the not always family-friendly meeting hours.
"She reiterated it is possible," Ms Pike said. "We had women in the room offering their skills to assist other women interested in standing next year — from media training, public speaking, design and photography to proofreading content. Personally this was the most rewarding part of organising this korero."
"We are currently seeking more women interested in standing. We will be meeting again in the New Year to help prepare for campaigning."
The current council's term will end on September 26 2019, with election day on October 12 2019.