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STV System Assured For 2004 Health Board Elections

Health Minister Annette King says the single transferable vote system (STV) will be used in the 2004 election for district health boards (DHBs), but the first past the post system will be used next year to avoid the risk of contaminating local body elections.

The health board and local body elections will be held at the same time every three years, with the first DHB elections being held in 2001.

Mrs King said the Government wanted to be able to use the STV system from the outset for DHBs, but had listened to concerns from Local Government New Zealand, the Society of Local Government Managers, and many individual local authorities who made submissions to the Health Select Committee on the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill.

"It is disappointing that STV cannot go ahead straightaway, but the delay is only for three years," Mrs King said.

"I believe that the STV system offers the best opportunity to ensure broad representation on each DHB, but we'll use a ward or constituency system under FPP for the first elections. That will ensure good regional representation on boards, and as Minister I can make up to four appointments to the boards as well to ensure we get the right mix of qualities we want on each board."

Mrs King said the thrust of submissions to the select committee were that there was not enough time to educate voters before the 2001 elections, and that confusion could contaminate voting for local bodies.

"As a responsible Government, we have to take notice of such genuine concerns, but we remain committed to introducing STV for 2004."

Mrs King said officials were now working on drawing up an acceptable model for using constituencies. "That is probably still some weeks away, because until now work has concentrated on the STV system."

Mrs King said she had discussed the issue with the Greens before releasing today's announcement.

Ends

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