A few random comments on the 2022 election result
Firstly can I thank the good people of Waitakere for re-electing me to the Local Board. This is a job that I enjoy immensely. It is really great trying to improve our part of paradise one decision at a time.
Secondly turnout was appalling. It was bad last time when 35.2% of voters regionally and 39.6% of voters locally voted. This time it was even worse. The latest figures suggest that 31.1% of electors voted and in the Waitakere Ranges this figure was 34.7%.
This needs to change. There were pop up voting booths which ran out of voting forms. Casting special votes has to be made easier. For instance every library should be equipped to receive them. And the pop up voting booths were a good idea but there are far too few of them.
Clearly the left took a hit. Out west we went from three Green local board members to none. Regionally Pippa Coom losing is a big blow as is Julie Fairley’s potential loss in her bid to take over Cathy Casey’s seat. Kerrin Leoni may make it after the final votes are tallied but for Tracy Mulholland to win is remarkable, given her performance as a Councillor.
Ken Turner beating Linda Cooper out west is a surprise. I know Ken well and I enjoy his company but I think it is fair to say that his and my world views are entirely different.
The local boards give a strong indication of what happened. Waitemata is now dominated by National aligned Community and Residents. And in Puketapapa the progressive Roskill Community Voice suffered the same fate. Elsewhere the result was mostly stable although voting levels for progressives were lower.
For Waitakere Ranges we went from a four to two advantage to three all although the final votes may get Mark Allen over the line.
What were the causes?
As previously mentioned turnout did not help.
And the last few years have been difficult and have fed into a widespread feeling of grumpiness. I have thought all along that this could be a bad election for incumbents and so it has proved.
When this grumpiness coalesced over a particular issue, such as cycleways, then clearly proponents were put under pressure.
Resources were also an issue. This is the first election out west where it appears to me that Future West was outspent by a handy margin by our opponents.
Our results were better at a local board level in Whau and Henderson Massey where right wing opponents either did not have the resources or were not organised.
And the style of campaigning was important where grumpiness and not vision was the best performing style. It is no coincidence that Wayne Brown’s promising to “fix” Auckland resonated so much better than Efeso Collins’ vision for the future.
The next three years will be interesting. There are some vital infrastructure improvements that will not happen unless budget is applied. And the radical response required by climate change will just not occur.
For progressives it is time to regroup and rethink. Our style of campaigning clearly needs an overhaul.