The great Mayoral candidate social media face-off

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We are now into the final two weeks of what been a very interesting local government campaign.  The voting papers have been delivered and are being returned at a reasonable rate.  Currently the rate of return is well ahead of where it was at the same time during the last election campaign.  If this continues then the poll should result in over 40% of people voting, well above last elections 35%.

I have performed some analysis of the performance in the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.  The top performing suburb is Huia with 17% of electors having returned their voting papers.  Other bushy areas are also performing well with Piha and Cornwallis having a healthy rate of return.  The lowest rate of return was for the Parrs Cross area where the return rate is similar to the overall Henderson Massey Local Board area which is relatively low.  But all areas are showing a healthy increase in the rate of return compared to last time.

As yet I have not been able to interpret the data to offer reasons why things should have improved although the Mayoral campaign is more interesting this time.  Phil Goff is an energetic campaigner who is everywhere.  Also Chole Swarbrick is performing outstandingly well and despite having pretty well no budget she is putting better resourced candidates to shame.  She could conceivably end up in the top three and if she achieves this it will be an outstanding result.

Her campaign may help explain the increased turnout in that she is determined to persuade young voters that they have a lot at stake in this election, arguably more than any other age group.  After all they will feel the negative effects of bad decisions for a lot longer than those of us on the wrong side of fifty.

And she shows a canny ability with social media.  In the great Facebook race off between the mayoral candidates in terms of likes she is ahead of the others, even Phil Goff.  And in the past week her Facebook likes have surged 62%.

She is making an important point.  The turnout last election was terribly low and signifies a democratically disengaged society.  This is so wrong because politics is vitally important and will have a fundamental effect on what sort of city we live in.  And our city could definitely benefit from young people being at the table when decisions are made.

There are a number of interesting match ups for Council seats through the region.  I believe that people understand now that while the mayor has huge powers the final decision making power lies at council level.  And there is a disquiet with what has been happening at Council level and this may translate into a mood for change.  Time will tell.

Of course I hope that you vote for every Labour, Green, Future West, City Vision, Roskill Community Voice or any other progressive local flavour that there may be.  But can I urge you just to vote.  Go to the meetings.  Talk to the candidates.  Read their blurbs and think about the issues.  But vote.  Chloe is right. The future of your city depends on it.

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