Tick that box


If you didn’t vote, then as incumbent mayor Vanessa van Uden says, you haven’t got much justification for complaining later – and going by voting statistics so far, that’s most of you.

The woeful turnout for the Queenstown-Wakatipu ward – where 14 candidates are vying for six seats – sits at a miserly 29 per cent of eligible voters as of yesterday. In 2010, by the close of voting it was 50 per cent.

The Wanaka ward turnout so far is 40 per cent (though how many have voted ‘Respect Wanaka’ in protest is anyone’s guess). In Arrowtown, where they don’t even get to vote for their local councillor because Lex Perkins was the seat’s lone candidate, voter turnout is even with Queenstown at 29 per cent – obviously the mayoral non-race has inspired them over there.

Maybe the figures are indicative of Queenstown’s penchant for doing things at the last minute – perhaps you’re taking your time and seeing how the candidates perform as the campaign wears on.

Let’s hope so.

On the turnout so far, no one who gets in will have a popular mandate (do they ever?) – but some should as there seem to be some decent candidates.

Anyone who puts their hand up for what’s more than a part-time job and leaves you at the mercy of public opinion for about $30,000 a year is worthy of consideration.

Mayor Van Unden ran a strong 2010 race and looks even more assured and impressive this time. Our First Lady should be a shoe-in given her opponent’s candidacy is a self-confessed ‘hoot’.

Perhaps part of the reason for the low turnout is you’ve been uninspired or too busy – both good explanations for the steady stream of audience departures from last week’s election candidates meeting at the Memorial Centre, though maybe you got sick of ex-mayor Warren Cooper warbling on.

One thing he was right about was these people will be spending your ratepayer dollars on stuff like footpaths, water and sewerage (and maybe a convention centre) – mostly boring but vital stuff that needs to function and function well if our quality of life is to be maintained and improved.

There’s still time – you can cast a vote in person at the Queenstown library between 9am and noon this Saturday. Special votes must be in by 5pm today (Friday) at the Queenstown or Wanaka council offices.

Oh, and one last thought – vote Van Uden!