Hamilton City Council will seek support from the community for moving to a new voting system when ratepayers have their say at the polls in 2013.
The council yesterday tweaked its earlier position by signalling its strong support for moving from first past the post to the single transferable voting system.
While using the first past the post system to elect new councillors in the 2013 local body elections, voters will also be asked to give their preference for the 2016 election at an additional cost of $10,000 to ratepayers. Polling at the next election was chosen over spending $156,000 on a separate referendum.
Using FPP, voters select the correct number of candidates to fill the number of positions, while under STV candidates are numbered in order of preference and people can vote for as many or as few as they like.
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Councillor Daphne Bell, who had called for the issue to be debated more fully, said STV was a fairer system and better represented voters. Under FPP, voters were saying they liked all candidates equally which was not always a true reflection, she said.
"I think it's a brave person from a minority group who stands for council and even more brave when you think the current FPP system favours a majority group."
Councillor Ewan Wilson's decision to move to STV on behalf of other councillors got mixed support. "My other point is we don't need to do another expensive poll, we are elected to make these types of decisions. The amended motion encapsulates our support and then kicks it for touch and says we better check it with the community."
He said moving to STV would better align the council with the Waikato District Health Board elections.
Other councillors also argued STV wasn't a complicated system if it was explained clearly.
But councillors Roger Hennerbry and John Gower argued the public should get to choose how they voted without any indication from the council. The amended motion was passed 9-2.