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Friday the 13th Holds No Fear for ERC


Electoral Reform Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday the 13th Holds No Fear for Electoral Reform Coalition

STV campaigners from Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Carterton and South Wairarapa have successfully met the 13 December deadline for their STV poll demands.

"Combined, over 40,000 New Zealanders have already signed a petition calling on their council to hold a referendum and there are still over a dozen campaigns with deadlines in the next week," said Lynne Serpe, national STV campaign coordinator. "The education and outreach involved with gathering petition signatures will give us an enormous advantage when campaigning for STV next year."

Christchurch electoral reform advocates turned their 15,000 strong petition in to the Christchurch City Council on Thursday, a day early. They collected over 30% more than the required 11,404 signatures and are confident the petition will be declared valid and are gearing up for the referendum next year.

"Our next challenge is to explain to the voters of Christchurch all the benefits of STV, including how easy it is to use, and why it works better than first past the post," said coalition chairperson Rod Donald.

"We will be mounting a city wide public awareness campaign in the new year to encourage people to make their vote count by supporting the change to STV," he said.

Dunedin STV campaigners will be presenting over 7,000 signatures at a mayoral reception later today (4,198 required). Horowhenua residents have collected almost 1,400 signatures (1032 required) while Carterton and South Wairarapa residents have collected well over their requirements. This morning Palmerston North volunteers turned in 3,587 signatures - over 40% more than the 2,549 required.

"We thank the public for their support and appreciate the encouragement so many citizens expressed to us," said Grant Platt, STV petition organizer in Palmerston North. "It has been an enlightening experience listening to the views of so many Palmerstonians and area voters on the issues they consider important and what they think of their Council."

Banks Peninsula residents turned in their successful poll demand last month while STV advocates in Auckland City were not able to collect sufficient signatures by their 12 December deadline. They will be presenting the over 10,000 strong petition to the Auckland City Council on Thursday 19 December and calling on the council to sponsor their own referendum.

"Of course we are disappointed to fall short by such a small margin," said Lynne Serpe, national STV campaign coordinator. "But we feel pleased we did so well in face of misleading information being put out by opponents of the call for a referendum."

Contact: Lynne Serpe, 09-361-5975

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