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Local Elections 2016 – Choice of Electoral System

Every three years Councils review the electoral systems they use for local body elections and let voters know that they are entitled to call for a change through a legal process that involves petitions and polls.
Updated: 29/08/2014 4:13 p.m.
Image of STV vs FPP.

​Whangarei District Council has decided to continue with the first past the post (FPP) system it currently has in place rather than the alternative, the single transferable vote (STV) system, which is used by the District Health Board.

Voters now have the right to call for a poll for the system to be changed.

Any decision to hold a poll, either by Council, or at the request of 5% of voters, would need to be made by 28 February 2015 to give time for any changes required to the electoral system to be put in place in time for the 2016 election. 

The result of any poll (whether initiated by Council or voters) would be binding for the next two elections (2016, 2019) and all subsequent elections until either a further resolution of Council is made or a further poll is held.

A poll on the electoral system was last held in 2002 when 65.27% voted for FPP and 34.73% voted for STV. The outcome was binding for the triennial elections held in 2004 and 2007.  

FPP - First Past the Post

FPP is a simple system where electors cast their vote by ticking in the box next to their preferred candidate.  When the votes are counted the candidate with the most votes is elected. 

This also applies if there is more than one vacancy.  For example, if there are vacancies for three Councillors you can vote for up to three candidates. When the votes are counted the three candidates with the highest number of votes are elected. 

More information on FPP can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website:

More about FPP (Opens in a new window)

STV - Single Transferable Vote

STV is a more complex system where electors rank candidates (i.e. 1,2,3,4 etc) to show their preferences.  The process is the same whether there is one or are many vacancies.  The District Health Boards use STV for their elections. 

Each position is allocated a quota which is the number of votes a candidate must reach to be elected.  If a candidate reaches that quota they are elected and they keep only that proportion of the votes required to reach the quota. 

The surplus part of the vote is transferred to the elector’s second preference.  If this results in another candidate getting more votes than the quota, a proportion is transferred to the third preference, and so on.

If no candidate reaches the quota set, then the candidate with the least votes gets eliminated and all the electors who preferred that candidate will have their votes transferred to their next preference.  This process is repeated until enough candidates reach the quota to fill the vacancies.

More information on the STV system can be found at: (Opens in a new window)



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