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A petition about whether the voting system should be replaced by first-past-the-post (FPP) has not attracted enough signatures to force a referendum ahead of the election.
However, petition organisers are pressing on with trying to generate enough support to have the question put on 2022 ballot papers, possibly resulting in a change for 2025 and 2028.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said he was encouraged there had not been a groundswell against retaining the single transferable vote (STV) system.
The system is regarded as proportional, and Mr Hawkins said it was more likely to result in people from under-represented groups being elected on to the council.
It also meant the mayor could argue he attracted support from most of the community to win the mayoralty contest.
Voters rank the candidates and as each one drops out of the race, votes are reallocated to those candidates who remain.
Petition committee chairman Pablo Dennison said STV was convoluted and people should have a choice about whether to keep it.
Simplicity was an argument in favour of FPP, he said. It was simply a matter of tallying the votes.
Mr Dennison said he felt a question about which system to use should be revisited automatically every second election.
The man who started the petition, Lyndon Weggery, said about 4500 signatures would be needed to trigger a referendum at the 2022 election and the organisers had just over half that so far.
Dunedin had a close STV mayoralty contest in 2019.
Cr Lee Vandervis was ahead after first preferences were counted, but Mr Hawkins won the day after a series of candidates had their votes reallocated.
Cr Vandervis said residents should be allowed to choose which system they wanted.
"My personal view is I favour a simple, transparent system, which STV is not."
He also felt not enough weight was given to first preferences.
Cr Vandervis did not accept the argument STV created better representation through fewer "wasted votes" and said it tended to favour candidates inclined to be inoffensive.
Cr Vandervis was not sure sentiment against Mr Hawkins was a big driver in people supporting the petition.
Mr Hawkins said he was not opposed to people using the democratic tools available to them and this included organising petitions to bring about referendums.
However, he continued to believe STV was a better system and said this did not rely on it seeming to enhance his chances.
FPP tended to favour the incumbent, he said.
Mr Hawkins said some people wanted to believe the 2019 election result might have been different under FPP.
But this depended on assumptions, such as that FPP would have resulted in the same field of candidates.
Mr Dennison said the petition organisers had only recently been allowed to collect signatures online.
Mr Weggery said he had once been a supporter of STV, but he had noticed dissatisfaction with the system.
It was good in theory, but people should be allowed to choose a simpler system, he said.
The council has used STV elections since 2004.