Hope you’re right, Professor Hayward

### ODT Online Fri, 13 Aug 2010
Vote splitting not factor under STV
By David Loughrey
Concerns the build-up of candidates for October’s election could split the vote of those challenging the status quo are unwarranted, University of Otago political studies lecturer Associate Prof Janine Hayward says.

“If you don’t want someone, don’t rank them.”

Read more

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

11 Comments

Filed under Politics

11 responses to “Hope you’re right, Professor Hayward

  1. Russell Garbutt

    “If you don’t want someone, don’t rank them” from the good Professor, but I prefer, “Don’t rank the rank, leave them blank.”

    The role for the mass media is to provide a really plain guide for the public to learn how to deal with our own particular brand of STV.

    It’s also an important issue to raise during the forthcoming neighbourhood meetings so that those folks not using social media and the like know the workings of STV, and can really appreciate how to make their vote count.

  2. Russell Garbutt

    It shouldn’t be too hard for the ODT – if you don’t want a candidate elected, then make sure you don’t put a ranking number beside their name.

    It would be so good to have the ODT print a really comprehensive assessment of what current Councillors have achieved over the last 3 years, but I’m picking that there will be a lot of pressure from some Councillors against that, who would fear a blank report card – came to Council to eat lunch, nod off, make sure I got what I needed, sort of thing….

    • Elizabeth

      Sad but true, please add:

      I got my name in uncomplimentary lights. I think I’m a really good person but I got confused, dazed, manipulated and finally, swayed. And I really should go back to school one day.

  3. “ODT print a really comprehensive assessment of what current Councillors have achieved over the last 3 years”

    What criteria is one going to use for this list of achievements? This is highly subjective and of course completely emotive. One person could see the establishment of say a small park for handicapped children as the most important thing ever, while others will see little value in it. Then how will the ODT know of every single committee, every single meeting, every single bit of correspondence each and every councillor has been involved in over the last 3 years – then how does one rank these unseen meetings and derive value from these.

    Sorry Russell it’s a strange request, but unfortunately not an uncommon view held of public officials. The all too familiar ‘what have they done for me lately’ syndrome.

    If we were to make arbitrary lists of so called achievements, it would be nothing more than a snap shot of the so called visible things that these people do every single day – good, bad or ugly.

    • Elizabeth

      The minutes of council committees actually form the contents of a fairly ‘measurable’ list – that’s what they’re for. Tie those to Annual Plan and LTCCP budgets, et voila! (it’s not so hard to see which councillors drove what)

      Nothing hard about that. ODT is well positioned to track that for the public.

      Then we might sidle into why staff have the discretionary budgets that might allow an $800,000 conference to be underwritten by the Council on a 1.8% rate of return. Fascinating. Providing the conference bid is successful.

      Man, it’s time to do the great heave-ho through the departmental budgets that councillors have NO idea of – or are duplicitous about given pet projects…

  4. kate

    http://greaterdunedin.blogspot.com/

    This might interest some of you. It would be nice to have it linked on the right hand side under Elections 2010 but defer to the moderator on that!

    {Have forwarded this request to the site owner -Eds}

  5. Russell Garbutt

    Hi Paul

    What I was asking here was not at all a “what have they done for me” question.

    I don’t think it would at all hard for the ODT to provide a snapshot of current Councillor activity. It may be that they ask these Councillors as a starting point, of the things that they believe they have achieved, what are they most proud of, what are they least proud of, what difference do they think they have made? Ask why they voted the ways they did on the major issues?

    As has been pointed out, the ODT Council reporter normally has some idea of how vigorous Councillors have been in committees, hearings and the like.

    The point of asking is that I genuinely don’t know what many of these Councillors have been up to in the last 3 years – some I think have done their homework on staff reports. Others I gather have a reputation for being lazy. I’m sure a lot of them don’t want too much light put on their performance as it may hinder their chances at an election. Hence my suggestion.

  6. Good to see Dave Cull’s Greater Dunedin blog, but it would be better if comments were allowed.

    • Elizabeth

      We hear Cr Michael Guest has put his election nomination in this morning.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 18 Aug 2010
      Guest misled law tribunal
      By Stu Oldham
      The Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal upheld a decision not to give Michael Guest a practising certificate after deciding he misled it “by lies or calculated omission” during a hearing on his application to be readmitted to the roll of barristers.
      Read more

  7. Calvin Oaten

    NOTE FROM THE EDITORS WordPress autoformatting interfered with the original formatting of Calvin and Jeremy’s submission. We have retained here Calvin’s comment, and the introduction and summary from their paper. You can read the full submission (PDF file) at Why NOT…. the STV voting system
    .
    .
    .

    In case anyone is remotely interested in the outcome of the forthcoming election, I felt it timely to revisit mine and Jeremy Belcher’s submission to the Electoral Commission after the 2004 event. It was an attempt to highlight the flaws in the ‘Meeks NZ STV’ system as adopted. In the event it failed. Now that we are faced with an eleven candidate outcome, I am convinced that any result relative to the wish of the people will be purely coincidental. However, if, as Mike Stk has said, I am on the wrong track then so be it.

    Submission to the Electoral Review Committee
    STV: Meeks (NZ) – A Flawed Method For Use In Democratic Elections
    By JM Belcher & CR Oaten
    20 February 2005

    Introduction
    It says something from the outset, when STV was so enthusiastically endorsed and accepted by the majority of Otago Councillors, Community and Health Boards that were willing to “give STV a go”; in the hopes of “making every vote count” (as the advertising promised us), that not a single one of those elected representatives (and even the Electoral Officer himself) had anything more than a scant understanding of the actual methodology and mathematics behind the Meeks method of STV.

    We’d been bombarded in the papers, on the radio, and on the television with messages extolling the purported advantages of STV over FPP – based largely around the principle that far less votes were apparently wasted under the STV system and, by and large, people were willing to accept this advice without delving into the underlying mechanisms of the candidate selection / rejection process. Those that did attempt to gain a deeper understanding were immediately struck by the seemingly impenetrable nature of the mathematics of the system and were content to back away slowly and leave well enough alone.

    However, when the Meeks method (especially this uniquely NZ modified version of it) is actually examined up close, and the needlessly complicated fractional maths deciphered, it is clear that democracy in the 2004 local body elections was seriously let down and compromised by a system that, although comprehensive in its treatment of numbers, in fact does very little to further the cause of the democratic process in a fair and balanced manner that actually reflects the will of the People.

    Furthermore, the unequalled incompetence of those contractors that were supposed to protect and render the democratic results back to us in a timely manner – for which they had been contractually obligated to ensure – thoroughly diminished the faith and support the People had placed in this new system [the STV electoral process]. Nineteen days to deliver a final result from a comparatively paltry number of voters reflects just as shamefully on the central and local government administrations who stood by – red faced and useless on the sidelines – as it did on the people responsible for the debacle in the first place.

    Of course, after such a disastrous episode that made the 2004 local body elections in New Zealand the laughing stock of government administrations and café bars around the world, those affected by or interested in that particular episode surely now have at least a 90% better understanding of the rudiments of the Meeks method (NZ) of STV than they did before the election. It has been a hard and bitter lesson – the most difficult aspect of which was the realisation that, even in a multi-candidate ward or health board, the voter only had one vote that really counted and this was their first preference vote.

    In hindsight; for no-one actually grasped the implications of it at the time, this primary weighting around the first preference vote and subsequent de-emphasis on the second and third preference votes (say, for a 3 Candidate Ward) actually denied the majority of voters two thirds of their democratic rights for their choice of representation in that particular Ward. This can be shown quite clearly in the actual results of the Dunedin local body electoral process, yet this fact [that your second, third, fourth etc votes may not count at all] was not even alluded to in any of the STV media propaganda that abounded at the time. The message was clearly to “make every vote count”, and that STV was supposedly a “fairer” polling method than FPP.

    For the purposes of clarity, we will (in this submission) focus primarily around exposing the flawed nature of the Meeks method (NZ) STV process and show how using the methodology they did, that some local governments had their elected representation unduly and unfairly influenced by the minority of voters rather than the majority. We will even use the actual results from the time of Dunedin’s election; since it is only by using the facts of what happened can you truly see the implications and the magnitude of the travesty that was foisted upon the People.

    Go to Why NOT…. the STV voting system for the full submission

    Summary
    There is little doubt that the intention of STV proponents was genuinely desirous in improving and advancing the democratic process in this country, and this is a laudable aim. That they were thoroughly let down and embarrassed by those entrusted with the task is deeply unfortunate. Furthermore, it is a salutary lesson against the privatisation of processes or procedures into the hands of the inept, and one would’ve been thought safe in thinking that these lessons would’ve been well learned by now; from watching such disasters as they happened around the world – especially in Thatcher’s Britain.

    In any case, we believe that whoever is responsible for the conducting of an electoral process, that it be conducted using methodology that is open to immediate scrutiny, that it be accurate, fair and democratic etc. The Electoral Review Committee has asked for submissions; with the object of seeking ideas and advice from the public and we believe that we have put forward a proposal that meets the requirements of the People rights to have their voices and votes heard without interference or corruption.

    May it please the Committee, we thank you for the opportunity to present this submission to you and thank you for your time.

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