Apathy among young voters worries

Hamiltonian Anjum Rahman has announced her candidature for the Council elections due be held on October 12, 2013.

The local Government elections will be unique for Hamilton, since a number of sitting Councillors would be stepping down and in Hamilton East, three out of six seats will be vacant.

An alumni of Waikato University, she has a strong multicultural and professional background and has been a community worker and leader for several years. Her wide-ranging experience includes the Waikato Interfaith Council, Board of the Trust that runs Hamilton’s community radio station FreeFM, Shama (Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre), Hamilton City Youth Council and the Legal Aid Review Panel.

Public concerns

Ms Rahman said that people were concerned about the way in which Hamilton City grows and develops in the next few years and in the long term.

“They are concerned about reliable infrastructure, a good public transport system, a range of facilities including parks, the Hamilton Gardens, the Museum and the Library. I think many people also want to ensure that we care for our natural environment, as both our health and our lifestyle depend on it,” she said.

Maori representation

Ms Rahman is keen to see better Maori representation in the City’s governance.

“Maoris constitute a significant community. Tainui have invested heavily in Hamilton, both with their development at The Base in Te Rapa and their investments in hotels in Central City. They are in partnership as guardians of the Waikato River and many other projects. I would like the new Council to have a more meaningful representation of Maori in the City’s governance structure,” she said.

She hopes to bring accountability and transparency in all activities of the Council and act as a bridge to work closely with local communities.

“My work with the Waikato Interfaith Council is invaluable to me, as it is through our activities that we best model inclusiveness and cohesion from people who have intrinsically different beliefs. We are able to respect each other’s differences, while focusing on factors that unite us when we organise important events in the City, such as Interfaith Services, the National Interfaith Forum and The Interfaith Tree-Planting event,” Ms Rahman said.

She hopes that the younger members of the society would exercise their franchise, thereby participating in the City’s development.

However, the voting pattern has thus far shown low turnout of the youth (38% in the 2010 local elections), indicating apathy.

Balaji Chandramohan is our Delhi Correspondent. He is a journalism graduate from Waikato University. He was a resident of Hamilton for many years, and hence has an insight into its politics and the community.


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