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Greens make gains on local bodies

Greens make gains on local bodies

The Greens have improved their representation on a number of local bodies following yesterday’s council and community board elections.

Green Party members have been newly elected or returned to the North Shore City Council, the Auckland City Council, the Auckland Regional Council, the Wellington City Council and the Otago Regional Council as well as community boards in the Hokianga, Devonport, Mt Eden and Western Bays in Auckland and south Christchurch. The party members stood as Greens, on tickets or as independents. Auckland’s City Vision coalition, of which the Greens are a part, deserves particular congratulations for being a key element in the first ‘progressive’ majority on council since 1938.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all the Green Party members who stood in this year’s local body election, whether they won their seats or not,” said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

“It has been good to have Green candidates campaigning on a wide range of key issues such as better public transport, reducing waste and protecting our environment.”

Mr Donald also said that, on the whole, he was pleased with the performance of the first round of elections using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system.

“As the cheese ads say, good things take time and I believe most voters are prepared to wait a few more hours to get three years of better local representation.

“While inevitably there have been some teething problems with STV’s first outing, I am confident that the new system will deliver fairer results that represent the wishes of more voters.

“The delays in delivering the STV results have been caused by a last minute rush of ballot papers and some initial confusion with the new voting system, rather than any problems with the STV calculation itself. The good news is that the confusion was much less in areas where STV was used for both the council and the health board.

“I hope that when the full results are published more communities and their councils will recognise the benefits of STV and adopt it for the next local body elections in 2007.

“Meanwhile I am concerned by the low voter turnout and urge the Government to give the Electoral Commission the role of running comprehensive voter education for local body as well as Parliamentary elections. The postal voting period should also be reduced from three to two weeks, but there should be no return to polling booth voting,” said Mr Donald.

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