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Tardy Wellington City voters: get a move-on

NEWS RELEASE
17 September 2008

Tardy Wellington City voters: get a move-on

Less than one-quarter of votes in Wellington City’s STV vs FPP poll have been returned even though the voting period has passed the half-way point – and registered voters are urged to get a move-on.

At noon today some 32,707 envelopes containing postal votes had been returned to Wellington Electoral Officer Ross Bly. That’s 24.6% - just under a quarter - of the 132,762 papers mailed out on 5 September.

This has prompted a call from Wellington’s Deputy Mayor, Ian McKinnon (who is also the City Council’s Governance Portfolio Leader), for voters in the city to hurry up and find the envelopes containing the voting papers, fill out the voting form, and get it in the mail. There are just 10 days to go before the poll closes on 27 September.

After an initial flurry of returned voting papers in the week following 5 September – when up to 6600 arrived in the mail on one day, the flow has dwindled to about 2500 a day.

Cr McKinnon urges people to check the kitchen table to find the voting papers in the envelopes carrying the distinctive black and yellow ‘STV vs FPP vote-off’ logo.

“I wonder whether people are getting overwhelmed, and possibly turned off, by all the national and international politics at the moment – there’s a lot of it about. But I urge them to also think about politics in Wellington City – at the most local level.

“This is the opportunity for Wellingtonians to indicate the voting system in which they feel most confident.”

Mr Bly reports that registered voters in the Onslow-Western Ward have been most diligent – returning just over 27% of voting papers, followed in descending order by voters in the Northern, Eastern and Southern wards.

Central-city voters in the Lambton Ward have performed worst – returning only 22.9% of papers.

The STV vs FPP vote-off allows Wellingtonians to have their say on which voting system will be used in the next two Wellington City Council elections. The result of the poll will be binding on the City Council.

Electors can choose between the single transferable vote (STV) and first past the post (FPP) electoral systems.

Mr Bly says: “In a nutshell, STV is where you rank candidates in your order of preference – 1, 2, 3 and so on. FPP is where you place a tick beside your preferred candidates.”

Voting papers have to be with Mr Bly by 12 noon on Saturday 27 September.

Mr Bly says the result of the postal poll will determine which electoral system will be used in at least the 2010 and 2013 Council elections to elect the Mayor, Councillors and community board members.

People who have enrolled on the Council’s electoral roll since 8 August, or who have lost or misplaced their voting papers, can apply to the Electoral Officer for a special vote.

The poll is completely unrelated to the General Election being held on 8 November.

For further information on the poll and the two electoral systems visit the Council’s website www.Wellington.govt.nz or call the Council on 4994444.


ENDS

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