Council keen to keep STV voting

Marlborough District councillors are keen to stick with the voting system that got them elected.

Last week's community and finance committee considered whether to retain the single transferable vote (STV) electoral system, which has been in place since 2004, or revert back to the first past the post (FPP) electoral system.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said he didn't think it was necessary to confuse voters by changing the system.

It was easier to rank people in order of preference with the current system of STV, Sowman said.

Reverting back to FPP would just confuse people, he said.

"I'm not sure the public would understand the system enough to make an informed decision."

Councillor Peter Jerram said STV was fairer, and was also the system that got the current councillors elected.

"Every one of us here has been voted in on this system, why would we change it?" he said.

But councillor Jessica Bagge was against retaining STV, claiming more discussion was needed before a decision was made.

"I like FPP, it's easier," she said.

"We got in under STV, but we didn't get enough people voting."

Marlborough District Council support services manager Dean Heiford said the voting system wasn't the problem, it was getting people out to vote.

The Marlborough District Council is one of seven councils in New Zealand that uses the single transferable voting (STV) system to elect its mayor and councillors.

The STV system enabled more proportional results than the traditional FPP. Each candidate needed a fixed share of the vote to win, depending on the number to be elected. Under FPP, the candidates with the highest number of votes win, even if it is only a very small share of the total.

Councillors recommended retaining the STV system and notifying the public of a final decision before September 19 this year.

The Marlborough Express