Yes elections are a distraction – but a good one

Stuff reports:

Things are going so well for Opotiki, the district’s mayor claims they don’t need an election.

Mayor has suggested Opotiki not take part in local body elections, although when asked if that should be for voters to decide, he said “democracy is incredibly important”.

Forbes said the elections risked distracting the council during a critical phase in the district’s development. Adding, elections often meant important work was placed on the back-burner. 

“I strongly believe in democracy, I think it’s really, really important,” Forbes said. “But there’s also an old adage: If something isn’t broke don’t fix it, and the council’s functioning very well.”

John Key probably thinks the Government is functioning very well also, but he doesn’t advocate no elections as they are a distraction.

He said the councillors were doing a “good job”, and if they weren’t he wouldn’t be suggesting an unopposed election.

“I’ve got a council working really well, so lets just carry on working hard on what’s good for our district.

“If I didn’t think we were doing that, I would say we [council] should all put our hands up, either stand down or ask the community to elect again.”

Forbes believed a council being re-elected unopposed had not happened anywhere else in New Zealand.

“I can’t think of any other councils who would want to do what I’m suggesting here. But we’re a small community, who know our council very well.

“When I talk to other mayors from around the country, a lot of them would like some change on their councils. A lot of mayors stand down because they feel they have had enough or not as good at the job as someone else might be.

It’s good the Mayor is so pleased with his Council. That is rare. Also good that they think things are going so well. But their perspective may not be shared by all – hence the point of elections.

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