Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Otago Survey Reveals Discontent Among Voters

Otago Survey Reveals Discontent Among Dunedin Voters

“A shambles”, “debacle”, “fiasco”, “waste of time”, “unacceptable”, “failure” – these were all terms used to describe the 2004 Dunedin local body elections by residents interviewed in a recent University of Otago research project.

The Otago Polling Research Centre, comprising researchers from the Departments of Marketing, Political Studies and Communication Studies, surveyed Dunedin residents following last year’s local body election to review public opinion of the election process.

Residents could opt to be surveyed via telephone, email/internet or post. What has emerged from the study is firm discontent with the STV (single transferable vote) system among Dunedin residents and disgust at the response time for results.

The STV system, whereby voters rank candidates in order of preference, replaced the traditional FPP (first past the post) system in which majority rules, in last year’s election.

Voters were mailed voting papers and had a three week window to send responses to the Dunedin City Council which in turn were sent to a Wellington-based contractor for collation.

But the unexpected collapse of the electronic systems collating the votes led to a four week delay in the announcement of results.

This delay was a major grievance to the Dunedin residents polled in the study with most declaring the wait “unacceptable”. Many of those polled were dissatisfied with postal voting, in particular, the lengthy time period given to voters to submit responses (three weeks) and confusion over the closing date for votes. While some felt postal voting could be improved by having more publicity around the closing time and a set day or week for voting, many more preferred ‘voting in the old way – in a polling booth.’

Another issue which emerged was the ranking system utilised by STV. Some felt they were forced to “rank people they knew nothing about” while others found the system “a lottery in which neither the candidate nor the voter benefited”.

“Essentially, voters found the election very difficult, due to the voting systems used and confusion created over candidates and voting papers. What needs to be addressed is the importance of voter rights over candidate rights,” says Professor Phil Harris, Head of the Department of Marketing and Otago Polling Research Centre researcher.

The results of the study will be presented to the Dunedin City Council and presented at an upcoming marketing conference in Leeds. The researchers hope to publish the data in the future.

The Otago Polling Research Centre is investigating setting up a forum for Dunedin residents to discuss topical issues concerning politics, elections, and community matters.

Copies of voter responses can be obtained on request (

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter

  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news