This afternoon I spotted this tweet from Morgan Godfery, which is a screen grab of a comment by Andrew Geddis on a blog post at Dim Post:
I said I had thoughts about it, but couldn’t fit them into 140 characters, so this is my response to Morgan’s suggestion to blog it.
From my point of view, which is all I am able to talk about, as someone who has seen themselves as being centre right, I have never voted for a local candidate because they are “centre right”. I have used the limited information that is available to me to vote for people who will look after the basics of life, water, waste water, rubbish collection, local roads. And I don’t think the ability to do that is a left or right skill, it is a personal life experience thing. In fact most of the people I have voted for, I haven’t actually known what their political leanings are. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Sue Kedgley, who I voted for not because I fully agreed with her views, but because I knew what her views were and felt that she would be good at fulfilling the role of a regional councilor.
Another element that relates to the above is the fact that what councils (be they city, super city, district or regional) are allowed to do is limited by law, maybe not as much as in previous years, but it is still limited by law, and the councils themselves have very limited ability to change the powers they have been granted. Whereas at a national level parliament, and executive, have a much wider ranging scope of what they are allowed and able to do. This may not be something that people are able to articulate as to why they vote the way they do, but I suspect it plays a role.
However, the bigger influence I think is the quality of the candidates. Because the left has traditionally done a better job of creating tickets at local level. These tickets are more focused and controlled, giving off a more professional image. Whereas many of the independent candidates, and some of the more recent tickets on the right, have presented a less than professional image.
In essence I think the people who vote at local body elections, all 35% of them, for the most part vote based on assumptions of competence, not on political leaning.