POLITICAL pundits have condemned the rise of political parties – Labor, the Greens and Australia First – in the Wagga council election.
Critics have claimed political parties are opportunistically using Saturday’s election as a means to an end in their bids for more votes at the next state and federal elections.
Charles Sturt University politics lecturer Troy Whitford said political parties would make council “unworkable and dangerous”.
“Very few politicians put community issues before party issues,” Dr Whitford said.
“We won’t get grassroots responses to local problems, we’ll get decisions filtering through from the party machine without any understanding of Wagga.
“There’s no place for ideology in local government; local government needs pragmatic decisions.
“The adversarial nature of party politics will only make local government more difficult ... they will resist one another on political grounds.”
Former deputy mayor of 10 years Lindsay Vidler said Wagga council’s history of fierce independence was under threat.
“I am most concerned that political parties have succumbed to trying to infiltrate and influence our local council election,” Mr Vidler said.
“Wagga council definitely does not need this and may I ask that you vote below the line for nine independents who will work hard for all the ratepayers and citizens and not their own egos and self-importance.”
Greens lead candidate Kevin Poynter dismissed criticism of party politics, saying a whole host of current councillors and candidates claiming to be independent were downplaying their ties to a political party.
“People talk about the possibility of me being told how to vote a particular way from the party at a state and federal level, but the Greens are driven from the grassroots,” Cr Poynter said.
“I’m being upfront. I'm running as a Green, with the principles of grassroots democracy, social and economic justice, environmental sustainability, and peace and non-violence.”