Two of Northland's district councils will use a first past the post system at the next election, while the other will use single transferable vote.

Whangarei District Council opted to stick with the first past the post electoral system at its meeting last Thursday.

However, some councillors said they would like to have a poll at the 2019 election to ask voters which system they wanted. The councillors had the option of staying with first past the post, changing to single transferable vote, or hold a poll.

Councillor Greg Innes said given the current ward system the council has, first past the post was the most appropriate.


Two councillors, Anna Murphy and Tricia Cutforth voted against first past the post, while Jayne Golightly was not at the meeting.

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, councils can consider their electoral system every three years. The public can demand a poll on the electoral system at any time. Five per cent of the district's electors need to sign the petition for it to force a poll.

In Whangarei that equates to 2892 voters.

Green Party Whangarei candidate Ash Holwell said the council turned down a chance to shift to a more democratic voting system, without public consultation or poll.

"It could have been this council's legacy, installing a system that promotes positive renewal in our elected leaders. Instead, they have opted for a status quo which sees council positions continue to be held by those with vested interests, and many who have been there too long."

The Kaipara District Council has decided to retain the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system for its 2019 triennial general election which means voters will rank candidates in order of preference.

They do this by placing a "1" next to their top pick, "2" next to their second option, and so on. They do not have to rank every candidate.

The system is used by district health boards, some councils and some companies to elect board members.

They do not have to give every candidate a number but must use consecutive numbers.
Candidates need to reach a quota to be elected.

The quota is calculated by dividing the total number of votes cast by the number of vacancies that need filling.

Once a candidate reaches the quota, their surplus votes are transferred to the voters' second preferences.

The Far North District Council has adopted First Past the Post (FPP) system where voters cast one vote for each spot that needs to be filled.

Under FPP the candidate, or candidates, with the highest number of votes are elected.

It is the most common system and the simplest to understand.