Monday, February 25, 2019

Will Tasman choose STV?

There are local body elections later this year, which will give us an opportunity to vote on our local councils and their climate change and fresh water policies. But in Tasman, they may be voting on their electoral system as well:

Tasman district voters look set to be asked to make an extra decision in the local body elections this year.

Organisers of a petition for a binding poll of voters on two voting systems believe they have the required number of signatures but want to collect more to be sure.

"We think we have the numbers but we need to have a buffer," said petition initiator Liz Thomas.

Tasman currently uses the archaic FPP system (as seen in the NZ parliament before MMP). If the referendum is successful, it will give voters the opportunity to choose to use Single Transferable Vote (STV) instead. I hope they do - STV is a much more democratic system, which gives voters much more choice. While its not widely used - only 11 local authorities use it at present - its use seems to be growing as the old FPP generation dies off. And if we want better governance from our councils, then the first step is to move to a better election system, one which requires every councillor to have majority support, rather than allowing a small plurality to exercise unbridled power.