JUST over a week remains to lodge nominations for the local body elections.

As of midday yesterday, there had been only one nomination received for the mayoralty from Xiaoyu Chen although Louis Rapihana and deputy mayor Lyn Riesterer have both announced their intention to stand.

Mr Chen, Barry Howe and Shona Browne have registered nominations for Opotiki councillor roles.

No nominations had been received for the Coast or Waioeka-Waiotahe wards or for the Coast Community Board.

Opotiki District Council chief executive Aileen Lawrie said local government elections were a key part of New Zealand’s democracy and people should make sure they are enrolled to vote and put their hand up to represent their community before next Friday’s closing date.

“Opotiki District Council touches almost every aspect of the community – supplying safe drinking water, dealing with solid waste, roading, parks and recreation, animal control, liquor licensing, the library and i-SITE, and so much more.

“Councillors and mayors are elected to make decisions and represent the needs and interests of their community.

“Good governance is vital to balancing the community’s short- term and long-term needs and desires.

“If you think you can balance the competing roles, if you are over the age of 18, a New Zealand citizen and enrolled on the electoral roll, then I encourage you to get your nomination in well in advance of the Friday deadline.

“Don’t leave it to the last minute and risk missing out,” Ms Lawrie said.

In Opotiki, people can stand for mayor, a councillor for the Coast, Waioeka/Waiotahe or Opotiki Wards, a Coast Community Board member as well as Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Bay of Plenty District Health Board members.

More information, including a pre-election report, is available on the council website.

“The pre-election report is a legal requirement and we must produce one because it provides a snapshot in time – a 2019 ‘Council in a nutshell’,” Ms Lawrie said.

“It is full of information to encourage informed debate ahead of the 2019 Local Government elections.

“It has information such as facts and figures on the district, issues facing council in the coming years, key projects, things council is committed to (for example through long-term and annual plans) and so on. It means that election debate is all based on the same data.”

She reminds candidates that there are rules and requirements around electioneering and candidates or potential candidates need to familiarise themselves with the rules on the website.

“There are a lot of technical details about when and where you can campaign for election.

“There are financial considerations; there are rules about erecting signage; and there are strict rules about not using council resources, meetings or places to support your campaign.

“The one that is most likely to trip people up is electioneering on council’s Facebook page.

Our audience and our page cannot be used by a candidate to promote themselves as part of an election campaign.

“I really encourage candidates to read the candidate handbook and other resources on the council website to ensure that we have an open and transparent election campaign and stay within our legal requirements,” Ms Lawrie said.

The list of nominated candidates can be found on the Opotiki District Council website at odc.govt.nz/our-council/elections and will be updated weekly until the last week of nominations, when it will be updated daily.

Nominations close at midday on August 16.

Enrol now to make voting easy

THE Electoral Commission is urging people to get a move on if they want to make voting easy in the local elections.

“The elections are held by a postal vote and you need to be enrolled at the correct address by Friday, August 16 to receive your voting papers in the mail,” said Mandy Bohté, national manager of enrolment and community engagement.

“If you’ve already checked your enrolment details are up to date, then you’re all set to vote.

“If you haven’t checked, take a few minutes to do it now and it’ll make voting in the local elections much easier.”

People can enrol or update their details by filling in a new enrolment form. Forms are available online at vote.nz, by calling 0800 36 76 56, or visiting a PostShop.

People who enrol after August 16 will need to contact their local council to arrange a special vote.

Local councils will start sending out voting papers on September 20, and voting will close at midday on Saturday, October 12, 2019.

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