6 Aug 2020

Hamilton City Council to use new voting system

7:21 pm on 6 August 2020

Hamilton City Council has voted to use the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system for the 2022 and 2025 elections.

Waikato River, Hamilton Central, New Zealand.

Photo: Unsplash / Callum Hill

Hamilton City Council's councillors decided to switch from First Past the Post (FPP) at a Council meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Paula Southgate said the decision was a brave one for councillors who had been elected under FPP.

"We asked the community which system they thought is best for our city, they told us they wanted STV, and elected members have delivered on that," she said.

"For me, this decision was about the fairness of STV over the simplicity of FPP. It's ridiculous that a councillor can be elected based on the toss of a coin, which happens if two candidates get the same number of votes under FPP.

"STV is the fairer system and Hamilton's voters will be better represented by the results it produces."

The results of a community survey run by the council also showed that a majority of respondents favoured using STV.

Overall, 726 respondents 78.1 percent wanted to switch to STV and 21.9 percent preferred to keep using FPP.

Governance manager Becca Brooke said the result was "a significant moment in Hamilton's local government history".

"Hamilton has used FPP for more than 140 years, but there was obviously a desire for change to a more proportional voting system," she said.

"We now have an exciting opportunity to continue educating our voters about how STV works before the 2022 elections."

In the 2019 elections, 67 of the 78 local authorities in New Zealand used FPP.