I congratulate our newly-elected councillor, John Robson, on his victory in this week’s by-election. His vote and contribution around the table makes it easier for those of us who want to exercise some more financial discipline and get back on track. I also congratulate the other 19 candidates for having the courage to put themselves and their opinions forward for public scrutiny.

Voter turnout is looking like it will be less than 30 per cent. Everyone who values democracy should find this at least a little concerning. If you’re reading this column, then you probably have an interest in civic life and most likely voted. If you didn’t, I’d like to know why.

Turnout continues to fall each election. One of my predecessors said of the fact that most people don’t vote “well, they must all be happy then.” I don’t necessarily agree. One resident I spoke to was overwhelmed trying to choose between 20 candidates. Others feel that because they don’t directly pay rates, council doesn’t affect them; but we do. Landlords don’t pay rates as an act of generosity, you pay it through your rent.

Would it help if candidates organised themselves into small political parties? That way you could vote for a group that shares your view instead of having to guess each candidate’s politics by their profile in the election booklet. Turnout is slightly higher for the museum referendum which allowed online voting. If government allows it next year, I’ll support online voting for council too.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris