This year's local government election started with a hiss and a roar.

Announcements started as soon as the new year rolled in, and we've had a steady stream of candidates put themselves forward since.

A total of 12 women have already announced their intention to campaign, up from eight in total for 2016.

This should go some way to improve the gender balance of elected members.


We also have several candidates under the age of 35 offering their skills and experience to our city and region.

More than ever before, diversity is under the spotlight. We need councils that reflect the community it represents for better decision making, role modelling and to improve our connection to the institution.

You could say I'm rather excited by what's happening this election. But I do have some concerns.

We have strong, exciting candidates putting themselves forward but — let's face it, we have a problem of incumbent councillors being re-elected time and time again due to name recognition.

There would be nothing wrong with this if they were all worthy of representing us — but many aren't.

We currently have councillors who do nothing, outside of half a dozen meetings a month and get paid well for the privilege.

If you can't list what they've contributed — don't vote because you recognise their name!

If you know them because they were in the media, it would be a good idea to have a look into why they had that media attention.


This year there will be more information than ever about candidates — please take the time to look and have an open mind to bringing in a new generation of diverse leaders.