Monday, September 13, 2010

Southland's sick democracy

This is old news, but worrying: 11 of 12 Southland District Council members have been elected unopposed. So if you live in Southland, you probably won't get to vote for council, unless you live in the Wallace district.

This is a perennial problem for Southland. Last election, only seven of its council seats were contested. Over half the current councillors have been serving since 2001. The result is a council which is effectively unaccountable to the people it purports to serve.

A democracy is only as good as its candidates - and where people cannot be bothered running, then it seems that Southland's democracy is very sick indeed. Nominations have closed, so we can't do anything about it this time round. But in three years time, we have to do better. Otherwise, Southland will continue its decline into a farmer-aristocracy, with a government unaccountable to its people.