Kiwi women encouraged to participate in local body elections

  • Louise Upston
Local Government

Associate Minister for Local Government Louise Upston is urging New Zealand women to get more involved in this year’s local body elections.

Speaking at an International Women’s Day breakfast on Tuesday as the Minister for Women, Ms Upston encouraged those present to think about what they can offer their local community trust, health board, community board or council.

“Many of you have the right skills, experience and attributes for these roles, but may not know it.  Equally, every day, there are women around New Zealand working to make a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders.  I am keen to ensure that those women gain the recognition they deserve,” she said

“Women are consistently underrepresented in leading local government roles.  Statistics New Zealand figures show that approximately a third of local council representatives are women.  This year we have an opportunity to change that and contribute to the diversity of local body decision makers with increased female representation.”

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote and the first within the British Empire to elect a female mayor with Elizabeth Yates voted in as mayor of Onehunga in 1893.

Ms Upston says, “We know that more women are gaining tertiary qualifications and working in high growth sectors.  This year presents female New Zealanders with the opportunity to use their skills, experience and judgement to help deliver better outcomes for their communities.”

“You need two nominations to stand for election and must be a New Zealand citizen, enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll.  Talk to the women you know with the capacity and capability to successfully represent their communities and encourage them to consider standing for election.  We all have a role to play in making opportunities for women more visible.”

The peak year for women’s representation on city, district and regional councils was 1998, when 31 per cent of councillors and 25 per cent of mayors were women.

If you are interested in standing for election, more information is available at http://www.lgnz.co.nz/assets/Publications/making-a-stand-made-easy.pdf