DCC agrees to retain STV election

Terezie Prabova and Radim Sarapatka are two of the 20 overseas workers evicted from a Wanaka...
Terezie Prabova and Radim Sarapatka are two of the 20 overseas workers evicted from a Wanaka property by the QLDC. Photo by Matthew Haggart.
STV or FPP? That was the question for Dunedin city councillors at a committee meeting yesterday and they answered by carrying a motion to retain the single transferable vote system.

The Local Government Act 2001 required the council to make a decision by September 12, if it wanted to change the electoral system before the 2010 council election.

Yesterday, councillors voted 6-4 in favour of the single transferable vote (STV) electoral system, which had been in place since 2004, over returning to the first past the post (FPP) system.

"It is good to see democracy in action," University of Otago senior political studies lecturer Dr Janine Hayward said.

[comment caption=STV or FPP? Did the council make the right call?]Dr Hayward had prepared a report on local government electoral options on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs aimed at helping councils reach a decision on which electoral system to use.

Cr John Bezett said there was still confusion over STV and "I think we should consider going back to FPP".

Cr Dave Cull disagreed, saying the public had voted for STV in 2003 and, despite a decline in voting turnout, a return to FPP would not change numbers at the polling booth.

Cr Bill Acklin said FPP worked in favour of incumbents and STV "worked in favour of newcomers", a claim backed by Cr Teresa Stevenson.

"We are starting to see a change under STV and I think that is healthy," she said.

Councillors Chris Staynes, Andrew Noone, Fliss Butcher, Colin Weatherall, Stevenson, Cull and Acklin voted in favour of the motion to retain the STV system, with Michael Guest, Bezett, Neil Collins and Richard Walls voting against.

Apologies had been received from councillors Syd Brown, Paul Hudson, Kate Wilson and Mayor Peter Chin.

FPP had been used by the DCC and the Otago District Health Board in the past.

The Otago Regional Council still uses the FPP system.

In 2004, Dunedin was one of 10 local authorities to adopt STV, along with all district health boards.

The decision is to be ratified by a full council meeting.


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