One Voting System

Change to Single Transferable Vote in Auckland

We currently use two voting systems in local elections:
  • First Past the Post (FPP) for the Mayor, Councillors and Local Board members
  • Single Transferable Vote (STV) for District Health Board elections
Both elections share the same ballot papers. Why not just have one voting system for  all local elections?  

Auckland Council could change from First Past The Post to Single Transferable Vote by passing a simple resolution, under Section 27 of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

According to that law, the resolution would have to be passed by 12 September this year to take effect for the next local authority elections in 2019, and would then remain in force for two consecutive elections before it could be changed again.  District Health Boards cannot change their voting system - the use of STV is required by an obscure sub-section of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.

STV is a form of proportional representation. It ensures that most voters within each consituency will support their representatives in some measure - even if only as their second, third or lower preference.  Which means the Mayor, in particular, would have a clear electoral mandate to lead.

New Zealand's mayors are elected "at large" directly by the people, which is good for democracy in some ways, because people feel they are directly electing the leader of their local council.

But I actually think it's wrong; it's at odds with the way our Prime Ministers are appointed, which is "first among equals" by their colleagues. And it means a mayor who loses the confidence of their fellow councillors or, worse still, of the public, cannot easily be removed from office.

But changing that would require a change in the Local Electoral Act, which is not something the Auckland Council can do.  What it can do, and I believe should do, is change the voting system in Auckland local elections to STV.

And they can make that decision easily, in time for the next local elections, by a simple majority vote of the Governing Body. Before the 12th of September this year.

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