GDC report waters down voter participation project

A staff report going to the full Council meeting this Thursday recommends that GDC does not support the Ka Pai Kaiti Voter Participation Project unless it focuses on the whole city and does not target areas with low voter participation.

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Click here to read the staff report: Voter_Participation_Project_(17_December_2009)

Click here to read the updated project summary: Kaiti Voter Participation Project Summary (12 Dec)

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Ka Pai Kaiti disagree with much of the analysis in the report. We also disagree with one of the recommendations (that the project should not focus only on neighbourhoods with low participation) but, subject to agreement from existing project partners, can agree to accomodate the other (that the project should not use control groups to compare the effectiveness of the approach) for the following reasons:

1. This project is specifically designed to increase participation in particular neighbourhoods that had comparatively low turn out at the 2007 election. These neighbourhoods also have higher proportions of young, Maori and low-income earners. We are interested in ensuring participation rates are more equal across the demographic profile of the city not just about raising participation rates across the board. Voters from poorer communities often have different priorities to others but because they have lower participation rates their issues and priorities are not reflected in the composition of Council. A range of historical and current social and personal issues contribute to the lower participation rates of people from neighbourhoods experiencing higher levels of deprivation.

2. Even if the project wanted to include the whole city there is not enough resource to undertake the kind of work that research suggests is effective and GDC are not offering any funding to support the project – even though they say these issues are important to them.

3. Including other neighbourhoods that had low participation rates at the last election will mean that we will be less able to determine whether or not the project has made any difference because a range of other factors could have influenced the outcome for those communities. However, subject to agreement from existing project partners, we are willing to compromise on this issue and include two other areas that had low turn out at the last election (Mangapapa and Elgin). This will mean that our limited resources are stretched further and the potential impact likely to be diminished but we see it as important that GDC is involved and in a spirit of solidarity with neighbourhoods similar to Kaiti across the city, we are keen to make this happen if residents from those are interested in being involved.

Ka Pai Kaiti are encouraging interested residents and people everywhere to attend the Council meeting at 9am Thursday 17 December and/or contact the Mayor, Councillors, the CEO and/or The Gisborne Herald before Thursday to express support for the project as it stands.

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Contact Details:

Meng Foon (Mayor): mayor@gdc.govt.nz

Lindsay McKenzie (CEO): lindsay@gdc.govt.nz

Councillors

Nona Aston: nona.gaskin@gisborne.net.nz

Craig Bauld: cbauld@xnet.co.nz

Bill Burdett: (06) 864 8966

Andy Cranston: a.cranston@xtra.co.nz

Allan Davidson: alan.davidson@clear.net.nz

Alan Hall: aphall@xtra.co.nz

Roger Haisman: (027) 332 8601

Hemi Hikawai: Jimmyhikawai@xtra.co.nz

Gary Hope: sabbatical@xtra.co.nz

Atareta Poananga: atareta@jamaicachambers.co.nz

Kathy Sheldrake: kathys@tmssport.co.nz

Pat Seymour: pnseymour@xtra.co.nz

Graeme Thomson: thomson230@xtra.co.nz

Brian Wilson: bwilson@paradise.net.nz

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The Gisborne Herald: letters@gisborneherald.co.nz

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Useful references:

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