Deciding to stand for local government elections ... first thoughts
Welcome to my first blog post. My intention is to take you on the journey with me as I stand for election at the Waikato Regional Council for one of the Hamilton seats. I would hope that by sharing this story it demystifies the concept and encourages others to stand also in future. The first question anyone asks:
I was motivated to stand by a huge variety of reasons ranging all the way from wanting to make a difference in the world (moreso or perhaps just differently to my previous roles) to the chance to learn something new (a constant preoccupation), or even just because of the infectious enthusiasm of a few random but key people when I first floated the idea in conversation. Also, I am currently in a moment in time where I had the time to consider the idea in more depth and came out with more pro's than con's on the list (I make a lot of lists). All in all, my conclusion is that a fair number of things need to add up for someone to take the leap of submitting legal paperwork (and $200) to an enrollment officer for an intensely long and public job interview which may lead to a 3 year (part-time?) commitment you may or may not enjoy.
My first reflection - based on my experience - is:
The atmosphere for new candidates in Hamilton/Waikato is very welcoming in 2019
Friends, family, the Waikato Regional Council staff, and even other candidates (from both WRC and Hamilton City Council) have been incredibly friendly and welcoming. Questions get answered, smiles and coffee dates were easy to come by. Also, local organisations like Seed Waikato are super supportive by offering free advice online and in person for a newbie such as myself. Networking at events is a chance to find out who thinks similarly to you or differently, and who is a bit withholding and who believes in collaboration before the race as well as after.
If there is anyone out there considering putting their hand up at the last minute - registrations close at noon on Friday 16th August 2019 - and has a good reason for standing as well as belief they can last the distance I encourage you to give it a go. In the name of good democracy!