If you have thought about local politics and having a say in the future of your district, then find out more about standing as a candidate to become a community board member, a councillor or even a mayor.
The Ashburton District Council will be holding an information session for prospective candidates ahead of this year's local government elections on Wednesday 20 July, 5.30pm in the Council meeting rooms (2 Baring Square East).
"This is an opportunity for people interested in standing in the 2016 elections to learn more about the nomination and election processes and the roles of councils and elected members. It's also a chance to have any questions answered," says Ashburton District Council Community Relations Manager Vincie Billante.
"We are encouraging anyone who wants to make a difference in the local community to stand. After all, local government and local democracy are fundamental to our community and provide the opportunity for everyone's voice to be heard. The mayor and councillors are elected to be community leaders and to represent the views and interests of all citizens."
The local government sector plays an important role. In addition to giving citizens a say in how their communities are run, councils own a broad range of community assets worth more than $120 billion. These include 90 per cent of New Zealand's road network, the bulk of the country's water and waste water networks, and libraries, recreation and community facilities. Council expenditure is approximately $8.5 billion dollars, representing approximately four per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 11 per cent of all public expenditure.
"We need a range of elected members of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to represent the diversity of our community," says Ms Billante.
"Anyone over the age of 18 can stand for election as long as they are a New Zealand citizen and enrolled on the electoral roll."
Nominations for candidates for the 18 positions available at the Ashburton District Council open on 15 July 2016 and close on 12 of August 2016. Voting papers will be sent out from 16 September 2016 and must be received by the electoral officer by noon on Election Day, 8 October 2016.
For further information on standing as a candidate, visit www.vote2016.co.nz or contact Anthony Morton Electoral Officer – Ashburton District Council.
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About Ashburton District
Ashburton District covers a geographic area of 6,175 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 33,200 as of 2015 Census projections. It is the 5th fastest growing district in the country and continues to be one of the fastest growing rural districts in New Zealand.