Voting: Why bother?

Voting: Why bother?

How do we get more Aucklanders to have their say at this year’s local elections?

5:00pm: Networking & refreshments
5:30pm: Start
7:00pm: Finish

The decisions made around the council table impact us more directly than those made at central government level.  So why do so few people vote in the local elections and what can be done to get more people involved in local politics?

This September and October, New Zealanders go to the polls to choose the people who will represent them in local government for the next three years.  While voter turnout at the last general election in 2017 was 79%, nationwide turnout at the last local election in 2016 was 43%.  In Auckland it was even lower, with just 38.5% of Aucklanders choosing to vote.

And yet local government affects nearly every aspect of our daily lives.  Auckland’s mayor, councillors and local board members make decisions on everything from rubbish collections, libraries and playgrounds to the public transport system that moves us around the city and the amount we pay in rates.

Join us at Auckland Conversations as actor, writer, director and comedian Oscar Kightley leads a panel to discuss why in his words, local elections, ‘are just so damned important’ and what could be done to improve voter turnout. 

Thank you for easing congestion, reducing emissions and freeing up space in our city!  Plan your trip and bike to the event! Look for the Bike Auckland stand at the Q Theatre main entrance, 305 Queen Street. Bike valet service with secure free bike parking for the duration of the event will be provided for your convenience.


Oscar Kightley

Writer, Actor, Director, Comedian

Oscar Kightley was born in Samoa and immigrated to New Zealand with his mother when he was four years old. Oscar first recognised his ability to make people laugh when he was a school boy, and at Rutherford High he developed his skills in humour and English (but not maths!) further. Following a cadetship at The Auckland Star, Oscar moved into radio and television, starting behind the scenes and then moving into a presenting role with Life in The Fridge based in Christchurch.

Current work
Oscar is one of the Naked Samoans, who've taken their anarchic brand of comedy around the country and even to Scotland. With the Naked Samoans and Firehorse Films, he completed the fifth series of ‘Bro Town’ in 2009, which he co-wrote with David Fane, Mario Gaoa and Shimpal Lelisi and is well-known for his voice over character, Vale.

2012 saw the highly anticipated sequel to Sione's Wedding, Sione's 2, which he both co-wrote and starred in. Oscar more recently was seen on the small screen in Harry starring alongside Hollywood heavyweight, Sam Neill. 

With his vast experience in the media and entertainment industry it seemed like a natural progression for Oscar to move into directing. Oscar launched his first short film Tom's Dairy as well as directing the sequel to the successful Super City 2 in 2013.

That year he co-wrote and played the lead in the gritty drama Harry, which received rave reviews in New Zealand and in the United States.

In 2016 you will have seen Oscar on the silver screen in the award winning “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” playing the none-to-bright cop “Andy”.

More recently you will have heard Oscar’s distinctive voice in the Disney hit “Moana” where Oscar voiced the part of Fisherman.

Aside from his busy filming schedule, Oscar still finds time for charities and organisations close to his heart with various involvement with World Vision and Water Safety NZ.
Oscar is an entertaining and dynamic MC and will be sure to add that special flare to your next gala dinner or conference.

Marina Matthews

Chief Executive, Superdiversity Institute for Law

Marina has over sixteen years experience providing legal and public policy advice on a range of issues.

Marina has a LLB and Diploma for Graduates in Arts from the University of Otago, and was admitted to the Bar in 2002. Marina joined the public service, firstly with the Transition Tertiary Education Commission, then the Tertiary Education Commission. She was seconded to Parliament as the tertiary education private secretary for four senior Ministers of the Crown. She then moved back to the Tertiary Education Commission as a Senior Manager. Marina has extensive experience providing advice to organisations on public policy frameworks being proposed, developed and/or implemented in the education, Maori development, ethnic communities, economic development, science and innovation, tourism, and immigration.

She assists organisations who are undertaking the CQ Tick, which measures the existing level of cultural intelligence and capability of staff and management so that gaps and strengths can be identified and addressed.  Marina also works with organisations who are part of the Global Talent Intern programme which increases their cultural capability by having an international student/graduate intern in their organisation. Marina also delivers Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and Unconscious Bias training.

She grew up in Invercargill and she is Ngati Kahu and Tuwharetoa. Marina is a member of Te Hunga Roia Maori Aotearoa (Maori Law Society).

Laura O'Connell Rapira

Director of ActionStation and Co-Founder and Chair of RockEnrol,

Laura O'Connell Rapira (Te Ātiawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whakaue) is the Director of ActionStation, an independent, crowdfunded community campaigning organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders acting together for a fair and flourishing Aotearoa. She is also the Co-Founder and Chair of RockEnrol, a volunteer-powered organisation dedicated to activating the political power of young people.

Laura is passionate about unleashing the power of the crowd through digital and community organising, effective collaboration, values-based storytelling and creative campaigning.

Michael Goudie

Senior Advisor - External Relations, ATEED, Chair, Auckland District Licencing Agency and Former Councillor, Auckland Council

I have lived on the Hibiscus Coast for close to 33 years, where I am now a husband and father.

I served two terms as a councillor from 2007-2013 this included being elected to the inaugural term of the Auckland "Super City" Council.

Before local body representation, I was in property and planning with a keen interest in the development of our city. Since leaving the elected life, I have remained interested in serving Auckland. I am now working for Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development and sit as a Chairperson on the Auckland District Licencing Agency. I created and run an online business,  I was appointed Justice of the Peace in 2013 and have served on various charitable boards

Karl Kane

Senior Lecturer, Design Director, Design+Democracy Project, Massey University

Karl Kane is a designer, educator and researcher specialising in service and experience design, and brand communication. Karl leads Massey University's Design+Democracy Project, a research unit exploring 21st century citizenship.

Karl’s research explores the role of design and design thinking in advancing ‘21st Century citizenship’. This is particularly focused on design-led youth voter engagement and civic education, and designing for a more deliberative, collaborative democracy.

Karl teaches into the Visual Communication Design degree with a focus on service and experience design and brand communication and specialises in contextual-studio and work-integrated teaching modes. He coordinates the Brand Communication, Experience & Service Design papers, and the .400-level VCD Honours program. Karl also supervises Master of Design candidates.


Hayden Donnell

Journalist, currently editor of the new local elections pop-up section on The Spinoff

Hayden Donnell is a journalist and the host of Get It To Te Papa on Lightbox. He recently signed on to edit The Spinoff's pop-up local government section in the leadup to the 2019 local body elections. 

Be the first to know about upcoming Auckland Conversations