Comment: If you have ever wanted to make your mark in a positive and constructive way, please consider standing in the local body elections writes Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay provincial president Jim Galloway.
When I cast a vote, I have never felt as though doves are released - that I'm taking part in anything extra special.
But I know that it is an important right and privilege of being part of a democratic society - we can have input into how we are governed.
This October we all get to cast votes for our local and regional councils.
Please, if you are a decent person who understands how important business and communities are, consider standing for election.
It is safe to say that we need better representation than we are getting. You can tell that by voter numbers.
People have become either apathetic or think their vote at a local council level means little or nothing.
It is why people do not vote. Which is a shame because when people become disengaged with their local governance teams they lose control over their district's present and future – couple that with the well-documented demise of local council reporters and our democracies are in danger.
Council election turnouts have been falling since the 1980s, and for most areas are now well under 50 per cent.
Read more from Federated Farmers here.
This year a campaign is underway to get more people involved in their democracies.
The goal of #Vote2019NZ is to ensure for the first time in nearly two decades, local government will be elected by a majority of New Zealanders.
Can you believe that is an aspirational goal, to have more than 50 per cent of a population turn up and vote?
So if you are politically engaged, know how important business is, and you are aware that societies are best when people with a social conscious lead them, please stand for election this year.
We need strong and competent candidates so we have meaningful choices when voting.
We need elected officials brave enough to say yes and no to hard decisions. We need people who are able to pull up council staff on spending decisions. We need to have actual leaders in place that are not just representative of one section of society.
If you have ever wanted to make your mark in a positive and constructive way, please consider standing in the local body elections.