By Kumeu Community Action Chairperson Laila Alkamil

With the general election fast approaching, the issues that affect our community - climate change, natural hazards, infrastructure and traffic planning - are the main focus of all the political parties.

But what does action on these issues mean and what can we expect from our elected representatives?

With both National and Labour boasting a frankly lacklustre track record for delivering in the Northwest, you could be left wondering if there’s any point in even casting your vote. Who’s worth your vote anyway?

The Kumeu Community Action group is apolitical.

Our committee is made up of people with varying political viewpoints across the spectrum. What we share in common is the view that our district needs strong leadership, transparent decision-making and proactive forward-planning to overcome the issues we are facing.

This viewpoint underpins all the work we do as a group.

Organising the Kumeu Candidates Debate (held on September 16) was our way of enabling the community to hear directly from candidates about our local issues and what they propose to do to fix them. But you might be asking, so what? Empty words right?

While it is understandable to be jaded, we cannot overlook the long-term implications of Governments’ decisions on local communities.

An example of this is the Special Housing Area – a Central Government decision that resulted in large scale development without the development of supporting infrastructure.

Or the lack of support for using our existing trainline to reinstate passenger rail in Kumeu and Waimauku, despite our chronic congestion issues.

As a group, we will keep advocating for better representation in the Northwest from our elected representatives.

The keyword is elected - we need the community engaged in the issues and to turn out on Election Day (Saturday, October 14).  Because to frame it rather cynically, voting is not about electing the best party, it is about keeping the worst party out.

That’s how you make your vote worth something.