Local councils seek motivated, community minded individuals

Across the motu (coun­try) body elec­tion papers are lan­guish­ing on side­boards, lie for­got­ten on the table, or are buried in a pile of papers wait­ing to be recy­cled.

Even those who have cracked the enve­lope may well be won­der­ing: what exact­ly does a coun­cil­lor do?

Essen­tial­ly, the cam­paign peri­od is just one big job inter­view, and it’s us – the vot­ing pub­lic – who are the .

But it’s hard to know what to look for in a can­di­date if you’ve nev­er cracked open a coun­cil agen­da, attend­ed a meet­ing, or even vot­ed in a local elec­tion – and let’s be hon­est, with 42% vot­er turnout in 2019, that’s most of you.

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* Take Five: Key ques­tions about women in local pol­i­tics
* Why you should care about coun­cil meet­ings

To many, the job of may­ors and coun­cil­lors is an enig­ma.

But, while the pub­lic rarely enter the realm of coun­cil­lors, jour­nal­ists do. We sift through agen­das, we sit through day-long coun­cil meet­ings, we meet with may­ors and coun­cil­lors, we attend the com­mu­ni­ty events they’re at.

Voting in the local boday election closes on October 8.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

Vot­ing in the local boday elec­tion clos­es on Octo­ber 8.

So, here’s a job descrip­tion to help you as you try and assess the can­di­dates and cast your vote.

Local coun­cils seek , com­mu­ni­ty-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als to rep­re­sent their com­mu­ni­ties.

With 78 local, region and uni­tary coun­cils across the motu, there are mul­ti­ple posi­tions avail­able for a broad range of can­di­dates.

As an elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive of your com­mu­ni­ty you will be required to set poli­cies and make reg­u­la­to­ry deci­sions for your region, dis­trict or city. You will be part of a coun­cil over­see­ing your organ­i­sa­tion’s per­for­mance and set­ting the annu­al bud­get as well as the long-term plan.

The abil­i­ty to read and com­pre­hend at times doc­u­ments is a must, with much of the read­ing expect­ed to be under­tak­en in your own time.

Nel­son City Coun­cil

STV sys­tem explained — how to fill in your vot­ing papers. (Sup­plied by Nel­son City Coun­cil)

Due to the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar, and at times bil­lion-dol­lar, deci­sions you’ll be , a basic under­stand­ing of bud­get­ing is an advan­tage.

You will need a good under­stand­ing of Te Tir­i­ti o Wai­t­an­gi and its impli­ca­tions on deci­sions you make, and be able to forge a strong work­ing rela­tion­ship with local iwi.

While you will be cho­sen for the role through a thor­ough elec­tion process you will still have only one vote on the coun­cil, so you need to have a will­ing­ness to work with, and lis­ten to, peo­ple whose ideals may not align with yours.

In addi­tion to being a mem­ber of the coun­cil you may also be asked to take on addi­tion­al respon­si­bil­i­ties, such as chair­ing com­mit­tees, so lead­er­ship skills are essen­tial.

You will need to be open to flex­i­ble hours, as meet­ings can often run long, and the num­ber of meet­ings and work­shops will vary week to week. In addi­tion, you will be expect­ed to attend com­mu­ni­ty meet­ings and events on the week­ends and evenings and to make your­self avail­able for con­stituents.

A firm hand­shake is an advan­tage but can be learnt on the job.

You can also expect to be asked to give speech­es and toasts, so con­fi­dence address­ing groups of peo­ple will favour your appli­ca­tion.

Final­ly, few – if any – coun­cil deci­sions are uni­ver­sal­ly agreed upon by the com­mu­ni­ty, so you will need to devel­op a tough skin and be able to cope with crit­i­cism.

This is a fixed-term , and you will be required to reap­ply in three years time should you wish to con­tin­ue in the role.

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