Amidst the din of city Council elections, Waikato Regional Council’s poll seems to have been relegated to the background, with limited opportunities available for Hamilton voters to meet and know the nominees.
With just over a month remaining to cast votes, NewsViews was unable to find any exclusive event- except Go-Echo’s online event on 14 Sept., being hosted for regional council’s candidates in Hamilton.
When asked, a spokesperson of WRC commented that apart from Go-Echo event that is already finalised, the Waikato Chamber of Commerce are currently considering the potential to include a regional councillor debate alongside HCC Mayoral debate on 27 September. There might be other orgnisations planning such meets as well, but WRC was not kept in the loop.
Female aspirants of WRC, however, may get a chance to participate in YWCA’s ‘Speed dating’ event on 19 September.
In the absence of public events or even street hoardings, some of the members of the community NewsViews talked to were not even acquainted with names of all candidates of Hamilton constituency.
“I haven’t seen any street signage or advertising of any regional council candidate – at least in northern suburbs of city where I live, or even across the city,” commented Abhi.
There was merit in their comment as most of the hoardings on the street corners, fences are currently that of City Council candidates with hardly any boards of regional council candidates visible.
Waikato Regional Council has a crucial role to strike the right balance between protecting the environment and using its resources. Waikato region is the fourth largest in New Zealand covering 25,000 square kilometers, with more than 506,000 people, living in one city and 10 districts.
Those whom people vote and elect will be “making decisions to shape this region by safeguarding the wellbeing of current and future generations” for next three years, as Chris McLay, Chief Executive of WRC said in pre-election report.
Therefore, it is imperative that those who are elected should have the required passion, commitment, expertise and knowledge to take decisions that affects economy, environment and eventually all of us.
Candidates standing for the 14 seats from various constituencies are:
Hamilton (4 seats): Meshweyla Macdonald, Angela Strange, Chris Hughes, Russ Rimmington, Bruce Clarkson and Jennifer Nickel; Taupo-Rotorua (1 seat): Mich’eal Downard and Simone Stevenson; Thames-Coromandel (1 seat): Warren Maher and Denis Tegg; Waipā-King Country (2 seats): Judy Sherriff, Cyde Graf, Barry Quayle and Stu Kneebone; Waikato (2 seats): Fred Lichtwark, Noel Smith, Pamela Storey and Jennifer Hayman; Waihou (2 seats): David Waine, Justus Katzur, Anita Goodman, Ben Dunbar-Smith, Anaru Adams, Robert Cookson, Chris van der Aa and Philip Sherwood.
Tipa Mahuta and Kataraina Hodge have been elected unopposed for the two Waikato Regional Māori constituencies Ngā Tai Ki Uta and Ngā Hau E Whā.
Unlike Hamilton City Council, the Waikato Regional Council is continuing to use First Past the Post (FPP), where voters tick the box beside their preferred regional council candidates.
Enrolled voters will receive their voting papers and a candidate profile book, in the mail during this month. People may be asked to vote for more than one candidate depending on where they live.
Voting papers need to be returned by 12 noon on Saturday, 8 October 2022.