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FPP Preferred TCDC Election Choice For 2010

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
thames coromandel.jpg
thames coromandel.jpg

Thames-Coromandel District Council elections will be held under the First Past the Post (FPP) system in 2010 unless a poll determines otherwise.

Thames-Coromandel District Council has opted to switch from Single Transferable Voting (STV) for the next two elections to First Past the Post (FPP).

This follows a review of the process by a project team comprising of Policy and Planning Committee members and two Community Board chairs.

Project team chairman Councillor John Morrissey says it became apparent during the review that voters were confused by STV and preferred the simplicity of FPP, which was easier to understand.

"Thames-Coromandel had one of the highest proportions of invalid votes in the country and also saw voter turnout drop by four per cent from 60 per cent to 56 per cent in the last election," he said.

"This is contrary to what STV was supposed to have achieved and we believe much of the reason was the complexity of both how to vote and how the results were counted."

Cr Morrissey said there was anecdotal evidence that voters also wanted to more clearly see which candidates had attracted the most support - something impossible under STV.

It was decided in February 2008 to split the review into two stages - the first to decide on the electoral system to use in 2010 and future Maori representation; while the second would look at membership, ward boundaries and community boards. (The second stage is to commence this month.)

A consultation paper on the electoral system and Maori representation was developed by staff to assist the project team and a presentation was made to Community Boards at the Service Delivery Quarterly Meeting in May.

As there was not enough time to canvas all board member opinions at that meeting, a follow up survey was conducted in which eight respondents supported FPP and three STV. FPP was chosen by the majority of those surveyed because of its simplicity and clarity.

If it wanted to change from the existing STV system the Council had to make a decision on the preferred voting system before September 12, but electors have until February 28 next year to demand a poll, which must be held by May 21.

A poll will only be held if requested by more than five per cent of electors.

In respect of Maori representation, 11 of the 12 survey respondents supported participation over representation.

The council noted arrangements to consult in respect of Maori in regard to representation and/or participation was desirable.

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