Councillors Stick With First Past The Post Voting System
Waikato regional councillors have opted to stick with the first past the post (FPP) voting system for the 2025 triennial election.
Other options for consideration at the August council meeting included a change to single transferable voting (STV) and a poll of electors on the electoral system.
Councillors heard that for the 2022 local election, 19 per cent (15) of local authorities used the STV system and 81 per cent (63) used FPP. In the Waikato region, only Hamilton City Council used STV and all other local authorities used FPP.
Ahead of the unanimous vote to retain FPP as the status quo, some councillors said different voting systems had the potential to cause confusion for voters and result in invalid votes.
Electoral Officer Mali Ahipene explained during the meeting that some of the initial thinking around the reduction in voter turnout for the 2022 elections was the “complicated nature of it, which does include a system for councils to choose for themselves from two voting options”.
The two Māori constituencies, introduced by Waikato Regional Council ahead of the 2013 elections, will also be retained following a vote of 9-2.
Ngā Hau e Wha Māori constituency councillor Tipa Mahuta abstained from the vote to encourage councillors to proactively include Māori constituencies.
A report to council highlighted the effectiveness of the constituencies in providing dedicated Māori representation and perspectives.
The constituencies “promote inclusivity, diversity, and positive relationships between the council and Māori communities, honouring the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi”, the report said.
Some councillors expressed frustration that under the Local Electoral Act the retention of Māori wards and constituencies must be revisited by a council at least every six years.
While the majority of councillors voted to support the retention of the Māori constituencies for the next six years, two councillors said they felt it was not democratic and voted against the motion.
The August council meeting was livestreamed. You can watch it here: waikatoregion.govt.nz/council-meetings/council.