As I go around gatecrashing many Hamilton City Council focused ‘Meet the Candidate’ events it has become clear to me that there are generally 3 types of people present: some very politically engaged, some who are curious and a few who ended up there almost accidentally (usually dragged along by a friend/partner).
Apart from the occasional nervousness before figuring out what to ask each other most people seem to be enjoying themselves and seem to be coming away feeling like they have learned something, whether that be what someone stands for or how a candidate made them feel. Hopefully either of these things have the effect to (1) commit someone to vote or (2) sway their vote on the day when their pen hovers over the voting paper.
What came as a bit of a surprise to me is that I have spent more time explaining what Waikato Regional Council does than my stance on things. It is quite enjoyable filling people in but since both council scopes are rather large and occasionally overlap with each other or other organisations it can be a challenge. My conversations inspired me to create a simple image that may help some Hamiltonian's to get in the right frame of mind to ask their candidates some questions:
If elected, I would aim to increase the storytelling of how Waikato Regional Council is relevant in the city. I would also focus on relevant topics for the more rural areas but they seem more aware of regional council’s influence in their lives/livelihoods.
One thing that is worth remembering is that both councils exist to provide for our long-term sustainability or wellbeing in the broadest sense - that is: success for the environment, the economy and the community.
Hamilton City Council has a vision for a great river city (embracing our environment), a city that embraces growth (for its economy) and a Council that is best in business (providing great service for its community) – see here. While Waikato Regional Council has a simple Healthy environment, strong economy and vibrant communities mission but provides some specific descriptions of what that would look like listed under each here.
Did you know that these ‘community outcomes’ exist and that this is what we pay the councils to deliver? I didn’t until recently when I accidentally came across them on the HCC and WRC websites. I wonder if we would all get a bit more excited about our local councils and their elections if we talked about these visions a bit more.