Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters

The Bucket Fountain, craft beer, the Mt Victoria tunnel and the 'Wind Wand' all star in a "quirky" Wellington City Council voter campaign which has a serious message.

Posters have gone up around the city over the past few days with phrases like "You're the bucket to my fountain" and "You're the craft beer foam to my bushy, bristly beard".

They all end with the tag line: "Declare your love for Wellington. Vote."

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


It's the council's attempt at drumming up interest in the upcoming local body elections, taking place between September and October.

But while some may see it as odd or even a little cringeworthy, the goal - to increased low voter turnout - is serious.


Council director of strategy and communications Jeremy Baker says they were limited by not being able to reference any campaign issues or candidates.

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


"We know a lot of people who live in Wellington love the place. We're trying to remind them that if you really like the things you like about the city then you should take some action and vote - it's really that simple."

The main focus of the campaign is on voters under 40. The council says it's "struggling" to get them engaged in local politics.

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


It's a problem across the country. Local Government NZ says the national voter turnout for the 2013 elections was 41.3 percent.

An LGNZ survey showed the main reasons people didn't vote was:

LGNZ has been running a campaign all year to try and lift voter numbers above 50 percent nationwide - a figure not seen since 1998.

The phrases the Wellington City Council have chosen are a deliberate ploy to rise above the din.

"Frankly, if we just went out and talked about the bread and butter issues we probably wouldn't get much attention."

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


But is it working? There were mixed responses from those Newshub spoke to.

"I think they're great, they're amazing, they're witty and they get to the point. It's definitely a bit more colourful and attractive and down with the kids a little bit more," one voter said.

But a 17-year-old, who says he'd vote in the next election, called the posters "a bit corny".

"If people are going to vote, they're going to vote. They don't need advertising to do it."

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


Another voter said it was important to increase the number of those who vote, but didn't think the campaign in itself would "pull people in".

The council was a big supporter of the proposed online voting trial which was axed by the Government in April because of security concerns. Mr Baker says that was a blow to efforts to make it easier for people to participate.

"We think some solutions like that are actually essential because the reality is people just don't use the mail that much. A system of voting that relies on mail voting is a bit of a worry."

Council's 'corny' campaign to attract voters


With the ever-decreasing volume of letters people are sending nowadays, Mr Baker has suggested returning to voting by ballot box to push up voter turnout.

Voting closes at midday on polling day on October 8. Aside from posting ballots in the mail, voters can also take their forms to any Wellington City library or to the main council office.