Change to council electoral system may be voted on

The council chamber in the Municipal Chambers.
The council chamber in the Municipal Chambers.
Dunedin's next election could be decided by a first-past-the-post vote.

A change to how Dunedin voters cast their ballot could be voted on in the Dunedin City Council chambers next week.

Council civic team leader Clare Sullivan writes in her report to councillors a decision is not mandatory but, on Tuesday, councillors will be offered the opportunity to change from the current single transferable vote scheme, maintain the status quo, or hold a poll.

"Whichever system is chosen, it is likely that there will still be a mix of electoral systems on the voting documents.

"District health boards are required to use the [single transferable vote] system," she writes.

"It has been argued that a mix of voting systems on the voting document appears to confuse some voters."

A poll could be demanded by Dunedin voters if at least 5% of those who were enrolled to vote at the 2019 Dunedin election, or 4674 voters, call for the change.

Signatures for a petition have been collected in city centre shops in recent weeks.

George St retailer Brent Weatherall said he was not leading the current petition, but backed its aims.

Mr Weatherall recently presented the council a petition with more than 6000 signatures opposing a change to one-way traffic in George St.

He said it would be "a walk in the park" to collect 5000 signatures and the council could not ignore the new petition.

"It’s not a witch hunt against the present regime.

"It’s just that we feel that a lot of people are speaking up about what’s happening in and around Dunedin on a number of issues — and the common response we’re getting around ‘Did you vote?’ is ‘Oh, that system is just blimmin’ ridiculous’," he said.

"A lot of people found it too hard and just started the fire with it [the ballot]. They didn’t want to make a science of it."

"We want a change.

"We want to include more people, make it a far more simple system."

In New Zealand, 67 territorial and regional authorities use first-past-the-post voting; 11 use the single transferable vote.

A February Otago Daily Times poll attracted 157 votes: 58% favoured changing to first past the post and 42% favoured sticking with the status quo.

Dunedin has used the single transferable vote system since 2004.


 

Comments

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Yes to First Past the Post. Keep it simple, straightforward and honest with voters knowing who our vote will go to. This will make the whole voting process just a bit more transparent.

I agree.

Why do THEY get to pick the way WE vote? STV is a sham! A vote should only be used once in democracy not recycled over and over. Dump the STV. Any bets they decide not to get rid of it?

There was a public petition for STV, organised by Alan McDonald, speaking of democracy.

Yes Hill, democracy. Our current voting system is very much in the minority in terms of adoption by local councils and indeed globally, there is a clear and understandable reason for that. As for Alan McDonald's petition, the process was indeed, democratic. People have had ample opportunity and a number of elections since 2004 to reflect on that decision. They now want a change away from STV. A petition requesting a change has been put forth, but this time, council have chosen to ignore it. Council could have recognised and respected the current wishes of the majority. You will see at the bottom of the article that 'test polls' show an appetite for the dumping of STV. Based on that alone, the DCC should have put it to an official poll, NOT decided upon by themselves to continue with the status quo. They were well aware that a change was being clearly and loudly signalled. So, speaking of democracy, no wonder many people are suspicious and angry with DCC. The powers of DCC range too far and beyond their purposed mandate to provide public services.

FPP is simple and easy to understand. STV has brought in second-place choices to the fore recently- which is unfair.

We'll vote on it to look like we are transparent and want to do what the rate payers have requested but really the waters are muddy and we'll do what we want -it will stay the same because most of those who have got in under STV know how to work they system, Hawkins would never have got in as Mayor if it was FPP. second thoughts would Hawkins have got in as a councillor. Dunedin needs better

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