INDEPENDENT NEWS

Enhanced democracy for local bodies on the way

Published: Thu 6 Jul 2000 10:09 AM
5 July 2000
Enhanced democracy for local bodies on the way
Green Party co-leader Rod Donald tonight said he was delighted that his private members bill, which would give local authorities the option of the single transferable vote (STV) electoral system, had passed its first reading and been sent to Select Committee.
The bill was sent to Select Committee for further consideration with the backing of all parties, with the exception of National.
Rod Donald said he was delighted with the wide cross-party support his bill had received but was not surprised.
"This bill is all about making local body elections more democratic by providing the option of the STV electoral system," he said. "STV encourages positive voting, ensures more representative councils, minimises wasted votes and is much fairer than first past the post."
Mr Donald said he was hoping his bill would be passed in time for next years local body elections.
"Under my bill it will be possible for both local bodies and the communities to change to the STV system," he said. "This bill will ensure a more healthy, robust and representative democracy across New Zealand. The sooner the better too."
Mr Donald said numerous councils including Wellington, Horowhenua, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt, Franklin, Hastings and Dunedin have supported STV in the past. Local Government New Zealand has endorsed local bodies having this choice.
"I have every confidence that this bill will pass because it is a commonsense bill that is very difficult to oppose. I hope STV will do for local bodies what MMP has done for Parliament.
"With MMP more people felt their vote could make a difference, and it did. I am hoping STV will lift the appalling 50 per cent turnout at local body elections."
Ends
Rod Donald MP: 04 470 6660, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133
A comprehensive pamphlet outlining how STV works is available from either Rod or Jonathan

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