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New voting system for kiwi voters

19 July 2004

New voting system for kiwi voters

For the first time, New Zealand’s entire voting population will be having its democratic say using a new voting system called STV.

All District Health Board elections this year will take place under Single Transferable Vote, or STV. It will also be used by 10 local councils and the Porirua Licensing Trust.

Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson Julia Napier says STV is a simple voting method. Voters simply use numbers rather than the ticks used in First Past the Post elections.

“It’s really easy to use. Voters choose the person they most want elected and put a number 1 next to that person’s name. They then rank their second choice with a two, their third choice with and 3, and so on.”

Voters have the choice of ranking as few or as many of the candidates on the voting document as they wish, she says.

“It is important when using STV that voters number the candidates they wish to support in sequence – 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.”

The local authorities using STV for council elections are: Chatham Islands Council Dunedin City Council Kaipara District Council Kapiti Coast District Council Marlborough District Council Matamata-Piako District Council Papakura District Council Porirua City Council Thames-Coromandel District Council, and Wellington City Council.

While some people will be using STV for both District Health Board and local council elections, most New Zealanders will still be voting for their council representatives using First Past the Post, Julia Napier says.

“People will receive their voting pack in the mail, with easy to follow instructions on voting. Voting papers for STV elections are pale yellow, while papers for FPP elections are white.”

Voting packs will arrive in people’s letter boxes from mid-September and polls close on October 9. The election is a postal vote.

STV is already used in parts of Australia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta and by Fonterra to elect its Board of Directors and Shareholders’ Council. While it is the first time STV has been used nationally, it was used for elections to the Christchurch City Council in 1919, 1929, 1931 and 1933 and the Woolston Borough Council in 1917 and 1933.

People wanting more information on STV can visit www.stv.govt.nz.


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