Whanganui District Council says it is not opposed to reviewing the way it records councillors' votes.

Mayor Hamish McDouall told the Chronicle keeping a record of which way councillors vote on issues wouldn't tell the full story but he was happy to consider such a policy.

At present — as per standing orders — councillors' individual votes are only recorded if a division is called or a councillor requests their vote is recorded.

That means there is no way the public can access a record of how councillors voted.


Recorded individual votes are not required by legislation but a council statement said: "In principle, we would not be opposed to reviewing the way we record votes.

"As we do not have electronic equipment, the process for recording all votes would be extremely time-consuming, involving calling a division for every vote and reading every result out loud for it to be manually recorded.

"Some form of electronic system would be required and this could be investigated."

Concerns were raised after a 6-5 split vote this month to accept late submissions to the long-term plan.

McDouall said context of a vote was a factor — a councillor might support funding something in principle but vote against it because they were not happy with the amount of funding.

"And it looks like they didn't vote to give any money. Out of context some of the votes might seem odd," he said.

"But whenever I vote against anything, I'm pretty sure I've asked for the vote to be recorded and that's for historical purposes. My expectation is if a councillor is strongly against something they will have their vote recorded."

Live streaming of meetings and moving deliberations out of confidence meant there were more ways for the public to gauge councillors, he said.

"All of these things have opened up democracy to the people."

■The Wanganui Chronicle has asked that future votes be recorded for the public record.