ORC waits for public call on electoral system

The Otago Regional Council will wait to see if the public demands a poll on how they elect their representatives, otherwise it will stay with the first past the post system for the 2010 election.

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, local bodies are required to make a decision no later than September 12, if they want to change the electoral system for the next election.

The regional council uses the first past the post (FPP) system, but could choose the single transferable vote (STV) system.

It was not required to make a decision, but if no decision was made, the council must give public notice by September 19, of the right of electors to demand a poll on the electoral system.

At yesterday's full council meeting, councillors decided to do nothing and notify electors that they could demand a poll.

If no demand for a poll was received, first past the post would be used for the 2010 election.

Cr Louise Croot said the STV system used by health boards had not been received well by people in rural areas.

Cr Duncan Butcher said there had been no call from within the community for change on this issue so giving notice of the poll was a good option.

Cr Michael Deaker said while he thought STV was a good system, given the regional council's structure, the need for consistency and the problems experienced by the Dunedin City Council when introducing that system two elections ago, he supported staying with FPP.


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