Voting system heralds change

Janine Hayward
Janine Hayward
Recent modifications to the voting system in Dunedin could bring sweeping changes to the city's political landscape, as the next election closes fast on voters.

Costlier campaigns to cover a wider area are likely to result in more political groupings.

• Candidate groups may come to fore

It may be news to the more than 50% of voters who did not take the time to have their say in the last city council elections, but the 2010 version should be "fascinating", University of Otago Associate Prof Janine Hayward said.

And the great unknown - who will remain at the council table and who the new faces might be - will not be decided just by the issues.

Those issues are yet to become clear, but the public's reaction to the final decision last year to press ahead with the Forsyth Barr Stadium will be in the mix, as will be the community's reaction to issues such as rises in parking charges, the city's levels of debt, and the seemingly inevitable upward creep in rates.

But a major issue that could change the shape of the council is the comprehensive overhaul of the voting system announced late last month.

The Local Government Commission scrapped the city council's system of six wards in favour of one large urban ward with 99,880 people served by 11 councillors, a Mosgiel-Taieri ward with two councillors and a Waikouaiti-Chalmers with one.

Some councillors and new candidates say political groupings to help with costs, and link names with principles to be taken to the voters, could be the way of the future.


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