A change to the local government voting system could be on the cards for the 2022 elections, with Hamilton City Council to discuss changing the system.

Councillor Angela O'Leary on her Facebook page said that one of the decisions council will decide on this year will be whether to change the voting system from First Past the Post (FPP) to Single Transferable Vote(STV), or remain with FPP.

First Past the Post is where voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins.

STV is where voters have a single vote which is allocated to their most preferred candidate. If a candidate achieves the quota, they are elected and any surplus votes are transferred to the other candidates in proportion to the voter's stated preferences.

Advertisement

Councillor O'Leary said STV was her preferred choice and made the most sense to her.

"In all the years I've been voting, there is always one candidate who is my first choice, then one for my second, third, fourth and so on.

"I like ranking them in order of my wish that they are successful. So STV makes sense to me. None of my votes get wasted and someone I really don't like has less chance of getting elected," Ms O'Leary said.

She said councils in New Zealand that use STV have had their voter turnout increase over the past three elections, whereas Hamilton voters have been declining.

During the 2016 local government elections, eight councils used STV, including Wellington City Council and Dunedin City Council.
The Waikato DHB also uses STV to elect its board members.

The comments on her post were split, with the public saying both systems had their pros and cons.

Mark Servian, who was formally the Hamilton City Council's communications officer for the elections said the current FFP system allowed the largest minority to prevail.

"Its simple — the current FPP system allows the largest minority to prevail, rather than allowing and requiring a majority view to be found, so it isn't democracy.

"Proportional Representation is true democracy, and in multi-member constituencies like Council wards, the only way to get proportional representation is to use STV. Everything else is detail," Mr Servian said.

Lyall Duffus said while initially confused, he believes STV is fairer.

"I was initially put off by the apparent complexity of STV for the DHB elections, but after reading up about it I think it really is much fairer, and avoids "wasted" votes.

"Roll on the next review — such a pity it wasn't able to be introduced this time," Mr Duffus said.

Dave Doggart said he was a fan of STV, but does not think changing will help voter turnout.

"Unfortunately, no voting system will fix numpty voting where a candidate is selected on name recognition alone. This is a larger problem in that it prevents new candidates from having a real shot."