New Zealand-Style STV A World First
27 May 2001
The Green Party says the adoption of the “Meek’s method” of STV (single transferable vote) in the Local Electoral Bill, passed on Thursday, makes New Zealand a world leader.
“Although STV has been used for decades in Australia and Ireland we will be the first country to couple it with a sophisticated computerised counting programme,” said Green co-leader Rod Donald.
The nationwide adoption of STV for the 2004 district Health Board elections and an STV option for council elections, marks the end of the seven year campaign by the Green Party and organisations like the Electoral Reform Coalition to replace first past the post with STV.
“I’m confident voters will relish the opportunity to use a fair and inclusive voting system for the Health Board elections and I am sure many councils and communities will switch to STV for the 2004 council elections,” Rod Donald said.
“I will be writing to every local authority in the country this week to offer them a presentation on how STV works and encouraging them to make the change.
“A good number* have already indicated their support in principle for STV and I hope they will lead the way in 2004.
“The great thing about the STV provisions in the Local Electoral Act are that both councils and communities have the choice to move to the new system.
Councils can either resolve to change or hold a referendum of local voters. The community can petition the council by gathering signatories from 5% of voters to force a referendum.
“STV will bring to local government what MMP has done for parliament. There will be more Maori, more women, more young people and more ethnic minorities on those local bodies which adopt STV, reflecting the richness of the communities they represent.
“To those who say STV is confusing, I say it’s as simple as ranking candidates 1,2,3,4,5, in order of preference.
“While I believe the Electoral Commission should run a comprehensive voter education campaign before the 2004 local government and DHB elections, I don’t think we should underestimate the intelligence of New Zealand voters.
“After all, the Irish and the Australians have been using the STV system for decades and they are bright enough to make it work, “ Rod Donald said.
*See attached for list of supportive
Councils who have indicated they will adopt STV:
Dunedin City Council
Horowhenua District Council
Palmerston North City Council
Rotorua District Council
Upper Hutt City Council
Waikato District Council
Councils who are supportive of STV in principle:
Christchurch City Council
Hamilton City Council
Napier City Council
Otago Regional Council
Ruapehu District Council
South Taranaki District Council
Tararua District Council