Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee yesterday agreed to recommend to a full Council meeting that a public poll be held to decide whether the Single Transferable Voting (STV) or First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system is used for the 2010 and 2013 local authority elections.
Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, Wellington City Council, having completed two elections under STV, can reconsider what electoral system is used for the 2010 and 2013 elections. If the Council chooses to retain the STV system and not have a public poll, the public can still demand, by way of a petition, that a poll be held.
If the poll is approved by the Council on Thursday 28 February, $185,000 would be allocated to run it. Poll voting papers would be posted out to all Wellingtonians on the electoral roll and results announced three weeks later on Saturday 27 September 2008. The poll would be conducted using the FPP system.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of the Strategy and Policy Committee, supports the idea of a referendum.
"In September 2002 the Council asked electors what voting system they wanted for the 2003 and 2007 elections. STV was the result. It is now appropriate to review that decision and again ask the public what they want.
"This poll will give our residents the opportunity to tell us whether that system meets their needs and whether they want their Council to continue to be elected under STV or whether elections should revert to FPP."
Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon, the Council's Governance Portfolio Leader, says he feels Wellingtonians are best placed to decide what electoral system is the right one for the city.
"STV versus FFP has provoked a lot of debate and feedback and we believe Wellingtonians themselves need to decide what electoral system they want to use to elect their Councillors in their city. It is an issue of such importance that it is only right that the people's voice is directly heard, as it was in 2002.
"This poll would be consistent with the Council's policy of wanting to involve the public in decision making that affects them and at the same time making it as easy as possible for them to do so."