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Labour's law ensured local election debacle

Dr Nick Smith National Party Local Government Spokesman

12 October 2004

Labour's law ensured local election debacle

The debacle over the counting of thousands of STV votes was inevitable under Labour's complicated and confusing local electoral law changes, says National's Local Government spokesman, Dr Nick Smith.

"The Government must take responsibility for this mess. It is the kind of debacle we would expect in Third World countries - not New Zealand.

"Labour were so politically correct in rewriting the Local Electoral Act that they ended up with an unworkable mix of FPP, MMP-variant, and STV voting mechanisms, with each of the 84 councils running their own system.

"On top of that, Labour required the newly established district health boards to abolish the ward system and replace it with STV for this election.

"The chickens have come home to roost with an unprecedented low voter turnout, delayed results, a record high number of invalid votes, and now this counting debacle.

"National's policy is to implement one voting system for local elections. The system would be chosen after consultation with communities, and the decision would be based on maximising participation. A sophisticated system is useless if fewer people vote.

"An inquiry is needed, not just into councils' administration of the election, but also into the flawed legislation behind the mess", says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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