Despite concerns from some Motueka by-election candidates about the opportunity to run a campaign under COVID-19 Level Four Alert restrictions, the Department of Internal Affairs has confirmed the administration of local government, including running by-elections, is an essential service. This means that the by-election must carry on.

There will be no opportunity for some of the standard in-person campaigning activities, such as door-knocking or public meetings, during the current lockdown period so candidate’s options are more limited to avenues like social media, radio and newspaper.

A leaflet containing candidate profile statements is delivered with the voting papers, which will be in Motueka ward letterboxes from Monday 20 April 2020. Those wishing to vote will have to return their papers by post. They will not have the option of hand-delivering voting papers if Council’s Motueka office remains closed for the duration of the election period.

Voting officially closes at 12pm on Monday 12 May 2020 but residents are urged to post their votes no later than Thursday 7 May 2020 to ensure they arrive in time.

If Council’s Motueka office is able to reopen by then, there may be an option to drop off completed voting papers but residents shouldn’t rely on this and are urged to vote early by post.

Our Electoral Officer has some limited powers to extend the close of voting in the by-election (for up to 14 days at a time) if it is believed that electors are being denied the opportunity to cast a valid vote. We will be carefully reviewing the by-election as it proceeds with this in mind.

Detailed information on the voting process, including the location of nearby post boxes, will be delivered with the voting papers. Contact details for the Electoral Officer will be included for anyone who has a question or may need help.