Voting System & Māori Seats
Council has resolved to retain First Past the Post as a voting system and not introduce Māori seats. The community can demand a poll on each of these topics.
Representation is the governance arm of Council. It affects how people in our community are represented by Elected Members at Council.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires Council review its representation every six years. There are six parts to a representation review: voting system, Māori seats, the concept of communities of interest and appropriate representation - wards, numbers of Elected Members and community boards.
The Voting system and Māori seats document covers Council’s resolutions made regarding the voting system and Māori seats. This information is also available on our website and from Council offices and libraries.
Currently in the South Waikato:
• We use the First Past the Post (FPP) voting system.
• We don’t have specific Māori representation through a Māori seat/ward.
• We have one Mayor elected at large over the district.
• In terms of communities of interest:
• We have three wards represented by ten Councillors – Tīrau (one Councillor), Putāruru (three) and Tokoroa (six).
• We have one community board, the Tīrau Community Board.
IS COUNCIL PROPOSING ANY CHANGES?
No, Council has resolved no changes to the current voting system nor Māori seats and has resolved to not hold a poll on either of these issues. Council also doesn’t intend to make any representation changes to Wards, numbers of Councillors and community boards, however a demand for a poll* could require Council to review its intention.
Why? Elected Members believe that there has always been good representation at Council both in the past and currently, communities are appropriately represented, and the voting system works well and is easily understood.
Our community can lodge a demand for a poll* for the voting system and/or Māori seats.
What is fair and effective representation?
Council must consider if its community is fairly and effectively represented and identifies communities of interest. Council believes that current representation reflects appropriate communities of interest and fair representation across our district’s varied demographic.
There are two voting systems in New Zealand – First Past the Post (FPP) and Single Transferable Vote (STV). Council currently uses FPP for its local body elections.
What’s the difference?
FPP - voters place a tick next to the names of the candidates they wish to vote for. The voter can vote for as many candidates as there are positions available to be filled. The candidate(s) with the most votes win(s).
STV - voters rank candidates in their order of preference using numbers. Voters may give preferences to as few or as many candidates as they wish. Candidates who reach the quota (calculated by the number of valid votes, divided by one more than the number of vacancies) are declared elected.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires Council to consider the question of introducing Māori seats through a Māori Ward. Implementation of Māori seats will mean:
- People registered on the Māori Electoral Roll can only vote for candidates standing for the Māori seats.
- The existing governance set-up – ward boundaries, number of wards and numbers of general Councillors - would need to be reviewed. This is because the legislation includes a formula to ensure that all ward Councillors represent around the same number of people across the district, and that residents have reasonable access to the Elected Members in their ward.
CAN THIS BE CHALLENGED?
Yes, if enough people in our community demand a poll*, a poll must be held.
DEMAND FOR A POLL
The community can demand a poll on two issues – voting system used for triennial elections and the introduction of Māori seats.
Community driven demands for a poll(s) requires 5% of electors (760 electors) to register their demand that a poll be held. If the threshold for the demand is met by 22 February 2021, a poll must be held. The outcome will be in place for both the 2022 and 2025 elections.
If the 5% threshold for the demand is achieved after 22 February 2021, a poll will still be held, but the outcome of the poll will only apply for the 2025 elections.
Poll deadline: Monday 22 February 2021, 5pm.