Electoral System and Opportunity to Change it

Current Electoral System

The Tararua District Council currently operates its elections under the First Past the Post electoral system (FPP). This form of voting is used in parliamentary elections to elect Members of Parliament to constituency seats. Electors vote by indicating their preferred candidate(s) and the candidate(s) that receives the most votes is declared the winner, regardless of the proportion of votes that candidate(s) obtained.

Alternative Electoral System permitted

The other option permitted under the Local Electoral Act 2001 is the SIngle Transferable Vote electoral system (STV). Under this system voters rank candidates in order of preference. The number of votes required for a candidate to be elected (called the quota) depends on the number of positions to be filled and the number of valid votes.  The necessary number of candidates to fill all vacancies is achieved first by the counting of first preferences, then by a transfer of a proportion of votes received by any candidate where the number of votes for that candidate is in excess of the quota, and then by the exclusion of the lowest polling candidates and the transfer of these votes in accordance with voters' second preferences.

Opportunity to Change the Electoral System

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, there are three ways the electoral system can be changed:

  • the Council can resolve to change the electoral system to be used at the next two elections; or
  • the Council can resolve to conduct a binding poll on the question; or
  • electors can demand a binding poll.

A poll can be initiated by at least 5 percent of electors signing a petition demanding that a poll be held. Once changed, an electoral system must be used for at least the next two triennial general elections, i.e. the Council cannot change its electoral system for one election then change back for the next election.

The Council reviewed its electoral systems at its 30 August 2023 meeting, and determined that the First Past the Post electoral system would continue to be used for the Tararua District 2025 elections.

Public notice was given in the Bush Telegraph on Monday 11 September 2023. A copy of the public notice can be viewed here:

Public notice of Resolution on Electoral System and of Right to Demand a Poll

Electors of the Council and its Community Boards have the right to demand a poll to countermand the resolution to use First Past the Post Electoral System.  Details on how to make a valid demand are outlined in the public notice above.

In order to take effect for the 2025 election, a valid demand for a Poll needed to be delivered to the office of the Tararua District Council, 26 Gordon Street, Dannevirke by 11 December 2023. No demand for a poll was received, therefore the First Past the Post electoral system remains.