Thursday, October 17, 2013


The gradual switch to STV has been one of the great improvements in local government democracy. It has meant a switch from a system which gave a narrow plurality total power, to one where people's votes counted. Naturally the right hates it. And naturally, National wants to use poor local body turnouts as an excuse to get rid of it:

The Government has flagged a wide-ranging review of how we vote in the local body elections, including alleged "turnoffs" - the confusing transferable voting system and the three-week voting period.


[Local Government Minister Chris Tremain] would ask the justice and electoral committee to investigate other ways to lift voter turnout.

"Part of this will be considering the confusion created by the single transferable voting system [STV], especially when voters are presented with [different] voting systems on the same voting papers.

So, they'll "lift voter turnout" by making people's votes worthless again. Yeah, that'll work. Meanwhile, the real problem - the fact that people don't really have much to vote for in local government (and when they do, Gerry Brownlee will just bulldoze them anyway) will go completely unexamined.

People vote if their votes count. Rather than trying to strip power from us, Tremain should be working out how to give us more. That's what will get us involved. But public involvement and public power are precisely what the National party exists to prevent. Why, if people can decide local body policy by electing candidates who take clear policy stands and have the power to implement them, they might vote against oil drilling, or giving all the water to dairy farmers, or other vested interests. And we can't be having that now, can we?