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LG Minister congratulates new Mayors

13 October 2001 Media Statement

Local Government Minister congratulates new Mayors and other local authority representatives

Local Government Minister Sandra Lee has congratulated the more than two dozen new Mayors of territorial local authorities elected in this year's local authority elections. She also congratulated new council, community board and DHB members and all those who had been re-elected to local authority positions.

"I want to thank everyone, whether they were successful or not, who put their hand up and decided to stand for their local authority, community board or DHB," Ms Lee said. "Their active participation ensures our system of local democracy will continue to reflect community values."

Ms Lee said she was pleased there had been a strong favourable reaction from throughout the country over the candidate profiles that had been used for the first time. She said early indications were that the voter turnout was down on previous years but there appeared to be a higher than usual number of special votes cast this year. Ms Lee said the government would also be looking closely at whether extending the postal voting period from two to three weeks this year helped or hindered the turnout.

"I will be seeking a full briefing from my officials on all the trends," Ms Lee said, "but its fair to say that I am really disappointed at the voter turnout, given the money and effort that Local Government New Zealand and others put in to encourage people to participate."

She said local authorities and communities are now be able to choose the method of voting that best suits their local needs, under either the present first-past-the-post method or through the STV or single transferable vote method commonly known as 'preferential voting'.

"STV will be available as an option for the 2004 local authority elections but I emphasise that the decision will be a local one on whether a particular community wants FPP or STV voting."

"While this weekend's election results have shown that New Zealanders still retain some interest in local democracy, I am hopeful the turnout will be improved if local communities decide to adopt the STV option," Ms Lee said.


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