Clutha facing major issues

The 2022 local government and regional council elections will be held by postal vote, with the last ballots accepted at noon on Saturday, October 8.

The three›yearly elections often attract low voter turnout, but regular news coverage of councils across the country, particularly in relation to Three Waters reform, and a widespread feeling New Zealand’s next general election will be pivotal appear to have raised the stakes for many.

As the candidate deadline loomed on Friday, August 12, nominations were reported at alarming lows, but over the following weekend, a deluge of last› minute nominations arrived.

People informally interviewed by Clutha Leader demonstrated awareness the district is rapidly developing through inflation and looming recession.

An employment specialist who asked not to be identified said Clutha District had up to 800 employment options, and according to him the district had nowhere near enough accommodation. ‘‘A lot of Balclutha’s commuter workforce may dry up when Dunedin Hospital starts building in earnest,’’ the specialist said. Most of the jobs are in primary industry processing, and private and council›assisted construction is evident among an ageing but growing population, but investment opportunities and fast, flexible property options are needed to encourage new, expanding and relocating businesses and contractors to move in.

Since local election voters tend to be older, property owning ratepayers, the home and business›ownership dynamic is therefore instrumental in politics as well as vital in making the region desirable and welcoming for the young — along with ample employment and recreational opportunities.

As well as rates management and roading, potential voters expressed a particular civil pride in their concern for the maintenance and presentability of their towns and environs, with conservation, footpaths and noise pollution also raised as issues.

Clutha District Council has 11 leadership positions including eight wards and two community boards contested by a total of 52 candidates, four of whom wish to be mayor.

The first›past›the›post (FPP) electoral system will be used for the Clutha District Council (CDC) and the Otago Regional Council elections and will be undertaken by Election Services, under contract to the Clutha District Council.

The district council governs a wide range of local services including roads, water systems, rubbish collection, libraries, parks, community centres, dog registration, community and economic development and district planning, and meets regularly to make many decisions that impact the day›to›day lives of people in the Clutha area.