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Let us choose the right ones to serve

Local Election 2013 is upon us. All of us eligible to vote must choose our representatives to City and District Councils, Regional Councils and District Health Boards.

By the time you read this, voting packs for all enrolled voters would have been delivered to their mail boxes. These have to be filled and sent back for counting before midday of October 12, 2013.

Historically, voting percentages in local body elections have been low. In 2010, we were told that only about 49% of registered voters had exercised their franchise.

This trend has to be reversed.

It is imperative that we cast our vote in the local election. Our Councils play a vital role in providing, managing and creating blue prints for basic amenities including roads, public transport, water, sporting and recreational facilities and several other services.

These also have an important part in making cities economically strong and culturally vibrant. Councils impose taxes on the community for these services.

When we pay our taxes on time and behave like socially responsible inhabitants of this country, we can be assured of quality and timely services from our Governments and Councils.

Election 2013 presents a triennial (once in three years) opportunity to pass our judgment on existing elected representatives. If we believe that the direction given by them to our community is correct, we may vote for them again; or choose other candidates. Conversely, if an elected member has proved to be inaccessible and inefficient, we may vote for those who hold a better promise.

Apathy towards elections from some sections of the society is hard to fathom. People migrate to New Zealand from all parts of the world in search of better professional opportunities and a higher standard of living.

We should consider our duty to vote for representatives who will truly address our problems and aspirations.

But is not assimilation into mainstream society a part of our goals? Those who do not cast their vote may convey the wrong message that they do not care; they also forfeit their right to complain.

We need people who can contribute their mite to the overall progress of our Cities and District Health Boards

This leads to broadening thoughts, generating the feeling of being more connected to the country than others. By voting, we are engaging with our democratic institutions, acknowledging key concerns facing us.

We are a part of promoting change or supporting the status quo.

It is an easy decision.

Apurva Shukla is our Correspondent based in Auckland.

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