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Local election progess results unacceptable

11 October 2004

Problems in local election progess results unacceptable

Further hold-ups to a final election result for seven district and city councils and 18 district health boards due to a processing error are totally unacceptable, Local Government Minister Chris Carter said today.

"I learned this morning that Electionz.com and Datamail, companies contracted by councils to process single transferable votes in a number of local elections, appear to have found an inconsistency in the number of votes inputted into the calculator which counted STV votes," Mr Carter said.

"This means that when the progress results for seven district and city councils and one district health board were announced, they were based on a lower percentage of the vote than originally thought.

"I understand that the integrity of the STV calculator is not in question, the issue is a processing problem which the companies are moving to rectify. Nevertheless, this error might affect the progress results reported in some elections, and at the very least creates further uncertainty for candidates and communities," Mr Carter said.

"Obviously, this error comes on the back of already lengthy delays to some STV results due to resourcing problems in the processing of the votes by those companies.

"I am clearer in my mind than ever that there needs to be a full inquiry by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee into these problems to ensure they don't happen again. They are simply unacceptable. Elections should take place in a country as small as New Zealand without these kinds of issues," Mr Carter said.

The councils affected are: Wellington City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Porirua City Council, Marlborough District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council, Dunedin City Council, Chathams District Council and the Capital Coast District Health Board.

ENDS

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