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Every vote counts, says O'Connor

16 September 2004

Every vote counts, says O'Connor

Every vote in the upcoming District Health Board elections will impact their outcome, Acting Health Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

This year's elections feature an "at-large' structure where voters have a say in the election of all seven elected members to their board - rather than just the one or two that are in their ward.

And with the new Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting system, where you rank candidates in order of preference, every vote can affect the overall result.
"When it comes to voting time you hear people saying "what difference will my vote make?' But in this year's DHB elections every vote really will matter," said Mr O'Connor. "That's why it's important to rank as many candidates as you can on the voting paper."

Voting packs for local government and the DHB elections start arriving in the post tomorrow, September 17.

Voters can elect seven members to each of the 21 DHBs, with the Health Minister appointing up to four more per board.

Mr O'Connor said voting in the DHB elections gave everyone a chance to have their say in the way health services were delivered.

"What you want from a board isn't always what someone else wants. That's why we need to hear from as many of you as possible to ensure boards truly reflect the diversity of the communities they serve."

Voting packs will include profile statements from candidates as well as instructions on how to vote using STV. The DHB elections voting paper will be a pale yellow colour.

Postal voting closes at midday on October 9.
For more information visit www.moh.govt.nz/dhbelections, call toll-free on 0508 9 10 2004, or contact your DHB.


2004 District Health Board Elections - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a District Health Board?

District Health Boards (DHBs) are responsible for providing, or funding the provision of, health and disability services in their districts. There are 21 DHBs in New Zealand and each DHB is governed by a board.
What is the role of a DHB board?

The board of a DHB has all powers necessary for the governance and management of the DHB. However, the board must delegate to the DHB's Chief Executive the power to make decisions on management matters relating to the DHB. This delegation may be made on such terms and conditions as the board thinks fit.
How are boards made up?

Each DHB board consists of seven elected members, and up to a further four members appointed by the Minister of Health. This structure allows for a range of perspectives, skills and knowledge on each DHB board.

The Minister of Health also appoints a chairperson and deputy chairperson for each board from among the board's elected and appointed members.
Who can be a candidate at a DHB election?

As a general rule, any person who is a New Zealand citizen and is a parliamentary elector can stand for election to a DHB board. However, there are several exceptions to this and these are set out in the New Zealand Public Heath and Disability Act 2000 (clause 17 of Schedule 2).
How many candidates are standing in 2004?
519 candidates are standing for the 21 DHBs in 2004.
DHB Total
Northland 30
Waitemata 36
Auckland 31
Counties Manukau 39
Waikato 36
Bay of Plenty 36
Lakes 18
Tairawhiti 27
Taranaki 17
Hawke's Bay 24
Whanganui 20
MidCentral 13
Wairarapa 14
Hutt Valley 24
Capital & Coast 40
Nelson Marlborough 16
West Coast 17
Canterbury 29
South Canterbury 13
Otago 26
Southland 13
TOTAL 519

Who are board members responsible to?
While elected board members are elected by the public, all board members (both elected and appointed) are directly responsible and accountable to the Minister of Health. This is because DHBs are funded by the Government, using taxpayer dollars. The Minister is responsible for setting New Zealand's health and disability strategies and ensuring that the tax dollar is spent in an appropriate way.
What voting system will be used at the 2004 DHB elections?

From 2004 onwards, DHB elections will be conducted using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. This replaces the First-Past-the-Post system used in the first DHB elections in 2001.
Under STV, voters rank their desired candidates in order of preference.

Candidates are elected when they reach a specific level of support from voters (known as the "STV quota').

October's DHB elections will also be held "at-large'. This means that all votes cast in a district will contribute to electing all seven elected board members. This is different to the 2001 elections, where voters could only vote for a limited number of candidates on a constituency basis.

Key dates for the 2004 DHB elections

Date Action

23 July 2004 Candidate nominations open.
20 August 2004 Candidate nominations close (at 12 noon).
17{22 September 2004 Voting documents issued - start of voting period, special votes are issued and early processing of votes begins (where applicable).
9 October 2004 Election day - end of voting period (at 12 noon) and announcement of preliminary results (as soon as practical after the close of voting).
9 {16 October 2004 Special votes are counted and official results are declared.
6 December 2004 Newly elected board members take office.


ENDS

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