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Split vote will undermine Auckland mayoral mandate

19 August, 2004

Split vote will undermine Auckland mayoral mandate

Green MP Keith Locke says Dick Hubbard's entry into the Auckland mayoral race shows the need for an STV voting system in the city.

"Auckland may pay the price for not following Wellington and Dunedin in adopting a preferential voting system," said Mr Locke, himself an Auckland City voter.

"There are now four strong mayoral contenders for Auckland City, meaning that someone could win with less than 30 per cent of the vote. By contrast, no mayor will be elected in Wellington and Dunedin without 50 percent support, from first votes or preferences.

"Dick Hubbard's entry does give Aucklanders a greater choice, which is good in a democracy, but the first-past-the-post-system means we might see the most disliked candidate, John Banks, being re-elected.

"I think most Aucklanders would like to see the back of John Banks, but he might yet sneak back because his opposition is split three ways.

"If we had STV, second and third preference votes would probably accumulate behind the strongest challenger, and Mr Banks would go down.

"Under the present scenario, many Aucklanders will vote tactically for the progressive candidate likely to defeat Mr Banks. By contrast, STV allows people to vote positively, for the candidate they most like, knowing that their preference votes will help the next best challengers.

"Something good may yet come from this election if it helps Aucklanders see the need to change to an STV voting system," said Mr Locke. "Whoever wins, first-past-the-post will lose."


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