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LOW VOTER TURN-OUT

by Kevin Moore — October 10th, 2004

 

Chris Carter
Parliament Building
Wellington
10 Oct 2004

 

Dear Mr Carter,

I note that you expressed some concern at the low voter turn-out in the recent local elections. Around 4 in 10 potential voters actually voted, whilst 6 in 10 did not vote.

This trend at the local level follows the trend in voter involvement in national politics.

The results of the latest local elections indicate that none of the mayoral candidates actually have a mandate to govern. A candidate who received 60% of a 40% turn-out actually achieved 24% support. i.e. 15 out of 20 voters did not think the person worthy of their vote or worth the effort involved in voting.

I note, according to the news item I read, that you are looking for reasons for this trend and wonder whether a greater effort need be made to raise awareness amongst potential voters.

I can assure you that there was no failure in communication of the desire of candidates to be elected in my district: the streets have been littered with political billboards for weeks. And the postal voting system worked perfectly well.

The failure in the system is at the candidate level. Whilst all candidates prior to elections make promises that refer to their willingness to listen to their constituents, voters have come to realise that this is simply not true. Indeed, the level of failure on behalf of candidates to offer appropriate policies or to listen to the concerns of voters has reached a crisis point. I personally was forced to return my voting paper marked “No suitable candidate to vote for” because none of the candidates in Manukau have any workable policies for the future.

As society heads rapidly toward oil crash, the point at which oil supply fails to meet demand, and a general failure of energy supply (oil, petrol, gas, electricity) all we ever hear is a mantra of ever increasing energy dependence from politicians who, to put it quite bluntly, simply have not got a clue. It is for that reason that internet groups have sprung up and are recommending voters not to vote for any candidate who is not actively promoting policies directed as preparing for energy collapse, in the hope that politicians might wake up to reality before it is too late.

Regrettably, the prospect of politicians waking up to reality seems just as remote as ever. Thus the warnings I have personally delivered to Manukau City Council, Waitakere City Council and to Ross Robertson (Labour MP for Manukau) have been totally ignored and, even as the price of oil spirals toward $60 a barrel and there is much discussion amongst informed analysts about the likelihood of a worldwide recession in 2005, leading to collapse of most world economies, we still hear the same nonsense about expansion of population, growth of the economy, growth of tourism etc. from politicians at all levels, who can only be described as completely clueless in so far as they have no idea where the energy to fuel this expansion will come from, or indeed, where the energy to maintain our current levels of consumption will come from.

Thus, we now talk of the politics of failure. The politics of failure are practiced by almost every politician in the country: Failure to listen to anyone with a view contrary to party economic mantra; failure to look at the facts that are staring everyone else in the face; failure to face our present precarious reality or the even more precarious reality that is to come; failure to prepare for it.

Those of us who are aware of the facts suggest that by this time next year (Oct 2005), the balance of payments deficit will have become totally unmanageable (it has already blown out by an additional $1 billion in one year under the stewardship of Michael Cullen), peak oil will have been reached or passed and the energy bubble will have burst, leaving this country in tatters economically.

Yours sincerely,

 

Kevin Moore
Environmental Consultant,
Energy Analyst and Educator