Dunedin going backwards – not.

In my all too polite and considered way, I’m writing a personal defence of STV in response to this mornings rant by Warwick Johnson.

Voting system must be reconsidered
ODT Mon 13 Dec 2010

First of all, let’s get the failures and inaccuracies out of the way. What is so difficult of ranking the candidates you like? Seriously, I do this every time I go to the supermarket, I like bananas very much, but on the off chance that I’m not having a banana day, I’ll get some apples too. But oh I do also like Central Otago Apricots, so I’ll have a little of them in my fruit bowl too.

STV couldn’t be more simple if you tried. You put 1 beside your most fav candidate, 2 beside the second fav, 3 beside the 3rd, 4 beside the 4th – see the pattern here? I bloody hope so or the education system in NZ is in deep trouble.

Seems Mr Johnson had trouble with this:

“Confronted with a list of 39 names, what did you have to do? Number 1 to 39? Number 1 to anything at all? Put a tick beside everyone you liked? Any or all of the above? There was even less knowledge of how to vote strategically to get the people you wanted and eliminate the people you didn’t want.”

Perhaps a pretty picture may help with this.

Which if you have succeeded through the education system to at least intermediate you could possibly have a voting paper that looked like this:

So when Johnson asks “what did you have to do? Number 1 to 39?” and the voting paper (example of which is in the ODT article ) clearly states;

Start by writing the number 1 in the box next to the candidate you most want to be elected. Write the number 2 next to your second most preferred candidate, and so on… You can write as many preferences as you like up to 39.”

I’m sorry if you are going to write such an impassioned whinge in the ODT and expect to get away with it, think again. The voting paper couldn’t be any clearer if it tried. And I’m not making this up, it’s true, it’s there in black and orange on the voting paper. If you go into the voting booth and follow those instructions then you will have completed a ballot in an STV election {you may now proceed onto Intermediate School}.

The rest of the attack on the actual ballot paper vote system is nothing more than a thinly veiled conspiracy theory.

“There was even less knowledge of how to vote strategically to get the people you wanted and eliminate the people you didn’t want.”

You know what, don’t like someone, don’t vote for them. Wow this STV stuff is getting simpler and simpler. Just as in FPP, where one person gets 11 votes, if you don’t want someone in the council – DON’T VOTE FOR THEM.

If you are politically motivated enough to want to vote strategically, then spend the time (as you would under FPP) talking to your friends and family about your options, read the candidates information in the newspapers or online – talk to the fella in the pub, but voting strategically isn’t any different or special under STV.

Here’s another fav of the disaffected FPP supporter:

“Many… demonstrated they had no idea how votes are actually calculated”

You know what, I have no idea whatsoever how the mechanics of a plane works, but I trust the professionals to get my terrestrially-based body from point A to point B. So far 100% of the time it works and I don’t complain about it – perhaps I should hark back to the days where I needed to see the flaps of the Sopwith Camel in action? That aside, if you are that worried about it, why not head over to the elections web site and watch the very very simple animation of how it works.

But to make things even simpler, I’ve included a small animation from the British Columbian STV campaign web site – yeah yeah, sorry it’s aimed at such a simple level (and instead of Riding, think Ward – the rest is the same), but it seems that simplicity isn’t something folk want when discussing STV.

OK, you are all now well on your way to secondary school. You’ve ranked your candidates, leaving out nasty Mrs Smith of #92 down the road (you know the one who insists on hanging her washing out in order of size), the computer calculates the votes, and results are posted.

Congratulations, you have just partaken in an STV election. It’s as simple as that, and yes Rod Donald was right – actually it’s easier than buying a lotto ticket, that involves some pretty complex thinking and mathematics to make sure you don’t miss out the birth date of your 3rd child in the numbers.

Now for the nub of the opinion piece,

“Before the election… there was a widespread demand for change in the governance of the city. Yet the election resulted in very little alteration in the makeup of the council”

Oh, OK so you’re not happy with the results. STV must be faulty, it must be rigged somehow, after all according to Johnson “it was because the system is too complicated for voters to use properly and because it incorporates biases”.

So I’ve clearly demonstrated above how EASY it is to vote under STV, and I trust the computers to get the simple calculations correct, then it must be because of biases in the system.

[FYI if you do need to know how to work out take-off in your next flight, follow this simple equation – and this is only part of the calculation]

I think that Johnson has a difficulty with the alphabetical listing of the candidates – and this is apparently a bias? All voting papers are alphabetical – FPP, MMP & STV. Otherwise what is the alternative, put at the top of the page the people that Johnson thinks should be there, or the ones that I think should be there, or like Mrs Smith from #92 down the road and rank candidates according to height? This is bloody madness, alphabetical listing of candidates is the most unbiased method available. If Wilson, Lloyd suffered because of his name (rather than my deep knowledge of the South Island Chairman of the Motor Vehicle Importers Industry Association), perhaps a cunning candidate would change their name to Aaaaardvark, Aaaron and guarantee themselves a top place and according to Johnson a certain place on council.

Council would be very funny wouldn’t it.

“The Motion presented by Cr Aaaaardvark, was seconded by Cr Aaaaaaaallan & Cr Aaaaaden”.

Alternatively a very expensive printing bill could be used if every ballot paper had random order of candidates. However all of this silliness aside, what Johnson is suggesting is the fundamental inability of the voter to exercise free will. Personally, the voting behaviour of individuals is complex and at times very funny. But to assume that the voter is that incapable of running their eyes over the ballot paper and put numbers beside their preferred candidates, and to NOT vote for their least desirable candidate, is in my view is doing the voter a disservice.

“I see no point in rank ordering the 11 I want elected, let alone going down the list perhaps as far as number 39.”

More fallacy. To see no point in rank ordering the 11 Mr Johnson’s wants in council is a little disingenuous, because under FPP there would have still have to have been 11 decisions made. If Mr Johnson only wanted 11 councillors under FPP, just as in STV, he would’ve had to have made an informed choice for these candidates. But to say “How on earth they differentiated between the virtual unknowns in the bottom quarter of the list is a mystery”, is bewildering. Crs Stevenson, Walls, Weatherall along with Tozer, Thompson & Vandervis are hardly ‘unknowns’ in the community – a couple of these names are on the Greater Dunedin ticket Mr Johnson is part of?

So after the fallacies, Mr Johnson gets to the issue of spoilt votes. The funny thing about STV ballot papers, you can actually scrub out the number you put beside a candidate and put another. The returning officer for Dunedin has confirmed that even if the computer can’t read the scribbled rankings of the Ballot, an actual person looks at the paper, and if the intention of the voter is easily understandable (and there were many of these ballots) then the vote is registered so.

But after all that, Mr Johnson gets to the heart of his disenchantment with the STV system – the intention of the voters. Apparently STV doesn’t deliver the council what the people want.

It is completely irrelevant if “Ms Tozer, for example, was more than 700 votes ahead of Mr Acklin in a first past the post count.”, because the system is STV and voters were allowed to exercise their right to cast lower votes for candidates x,y & z. Which is exactly what they did do in handing Cr Acklin and Cr Hudson eventual places back on the council. They carried more ranking votes in the over all vote. That is the system.

But Mr Johnson’s disgruntled ramblings continue, and apparently Democracy should be alarmed at the lack of transparency. Transparency is that funny thing which people think equates to equality or fairness. Transparency in FPP is no greater that under STV.

“Only with great difficulty and some reasonable computing skills can the public get any picture at all of why the voting ended up the way it did.”

It’s a computerised system yes, it’s complex yes, but is it flawed, does it have biases? I don’t think so. When Mr Johnson asks how do we know if the system isn’t flawed, I guess we have to leave that to the panel of experts, nerds and geeks which produced it, the parliamentary committee that approved it, and the professionals charged with operating it. Just as I have to trust the engineers, geeks and professionals who combined to create an aeroplane that gets me from Point A to Point B from time to time. Could Mr Johnson please explain how Sir Robert Muldoon’s National party which got FEWER votes in BOTH the 1981 and 1978 elections than the opposition, yet is returned to power, is fair and just because it’s transparent. In 1978 National got 11,000 fewer votes than Labour, but 11 more seats. That sort of transparency for the sake of democracy is just wrong.

Further “And in the event of a recount, if the second set of figures differed from the first, which version would be more likely to be right?” Well that goes for FPP, MMP or any other system that allows for recounts. These are just silly arguments.

In the end, when the numbers were crunched Dunedin got the council it voted for. If Mr Johnson wants randomly ordered ballot papers (again assuming the inability of the voter to exercise free will) for FPP, then surely the same can be applied to STV.

Personally, I have no time for this line of argument posed by Mr Johnson, it’s the tired grumblings of the FPP disenchanted, adding nothing to the debate. The irony is that early on Mr Johnson claims that so called experts were confused, the problem with this type of opinion piece is that it only adds to the confusion by throwing up false arguments and fallacies which I just couldn’t let lie.

Harking back to a system that is so fundamentally biased and has been proven not to reflect the will of the people isn’t the way forward for Dunedin. The way forward is for fallacies and misconceptions to be dispelled and discussed.

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Economics, Hot air, Politics

27 responses to “Dunedin going backwards – not.

  1. Russell Garbutt

    What really interests me, and there doesn’t seem to be an answer on this for whatever reason, is what was the percentage of voters that had their votes disallowed because they failed to follow the rules?

    Seems to me to be a crucial part of any argument in determing whether this system or that system should be used, is whether having a voting paper for an election with some of the bodies being elected by one system and others using a different system leads to an inherently larger percentage of disallowed votes.

    I was certainly aware of more than a few people who I know are tertiary qualified that still messed up.

    Not sure that I would hold to the argument that just because I don’t need to understand how a plane works when I fly, I don’t need to understand how someone gets to sit round a Council table.

    So, first things first. How many people had their votes disallowed and how did that compare to the national average of FPP elections (most Local Body Elections are held using FPP)?

  2. Hi Russell I’ve been advised that having informal votes (ballot papers that folk messed up too bad to be counted) higher than the blank votes is a little unusual, but that these percentages aren’t high nationally or internationally.

    665 (1.94%) were informal, that is folk scribbled on their votes so badly they can’t be counted – remember that a vote can be changed, as long as a human at the end of the line can see the intention of the voter it is counted.

    I know a lot of Uni folk and I know a lot of Non-Uni folk, but I think we are in really dangerous territory of making Dunedin look silly if we can’t count 1-10 of the things we like.

    Personally, the only change to the voting papers I’d like to see is a dummy ballot on a separate page that you can scribble all over before completing the final votes.

    While 566 were blank – that is more or less a protest vote, because the person took the time to actually go through the process of voting but then not filling it out.

  3. Actually one of the fundamental reasons why FPP is just so wrong compared to STV is how blocks of votes can disproportionately elect members.

    Mr Johnson bemoans how on first count Tozer was 700 votes ahead of others, yet the others came out much higher up in the final rankings.

    This is true and possibly the one reason why STV should be so embraced. Under FPP research shows that a very small section of the voting public (white males) comprise the biggest block of votes for traditionally a very narrow type of candidate. So a small block of votes gets to get their candidate over everyone else’s votes which are spread wide and far.

    Under STV the voice of a great wider voting public is heard. This is the classic case with Bev Butler. She had a very strong core of first votes (or FPP style votes), but then her vote fell away dramatically as 2nd and 3rd etc votes from a wider range of the public vote. She had a core of fans, but then that fell away. A great number of people voted for other people and their vote finally gets ‘represented’ under STV. There is still the core ‘conservative’ voting block, but its effect is mitigated by the voice of the wider public being heard. Tozer’s vote is a classic example of this.

    Now if you think that having the voice of the wider public heard and accounted for is a bad thing then you are no fan of democracy.

    There are also arguments floating about that people don’t get STV, and that candidates haven’t come forward to ‘represent’ the wider community. Yes and no. People took 3+ elections to understand MMP, and for the life of me, years on from his passing I am still bewildered by Robert Muldoon capturing 2 elections under FPP despite having much less votes than Labour. In fact if MMP had been about in 1978 Labour & Social Credit would have had a vast majority in the halls of power, and I’d hazard a guess that NZ would have been a vastly different place to what it is today (the rights or wrongs of that I’m not prepared to comment on).

    Also research shows that it took at least 3 elections for candidates truly representing the wider community to come forward and for the public to respond to them. Following the success of Jinty McTavish under this STV election, I would hazard a pretty easy guess at seeing a greater number of young and female voters participating in the process next time – even more so if Jinty can find a voice within council. Actually, to have 4 out of the 7 female candidates elected is a pretty good indictment on the value of STV. Sure they make up only just over 1/4 of total councillors, but it’s a greater representation than in other areas.

    Lets hope that under this far fairer system that, with the success of Jinty as an example, we see other ‘minority’ groups more organised at election time and participating in greater numbers.

  4. Do his arguments actually line up with his conclusion? After arguing that alphabeticism was an issue, it really boils down to: Lynn Tozer should have been elected.
    Also, he seems surprised that Michael Guest got the highest number of 39th preferences. Apart from wanting the same level of vote breakdown (where did he get this numbers from??), that is the perfect anti-Guest vote (that or ranking all other 38, and then leaving Guest blank). Certainly, I could name a few people that might have chosen to vote that way.

  5. Phil

    I might be wrong, but didn’t Lee Vandervis end up polling higher than John (someone please buy me a hairbrush and an iron) Bezett ? John might want to think about that a little before mouthing off about who has the most right to sit on Council.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    STV couldn’t be more simple if you tried? You put 1 beside your most fav candidate, 2 beside the second fav, 3 beside the third fav and so on. That right there is where it is wrong. If we have the democratic right to select 11 candidates, we are electing our choice of 11 councillors. Each of those councillors have a vote on council business, so why would I consider any of my 11 as being more valuable than any other? So I don’t want my selection lined up one behind the other, I want them all abreast, equally rated, equally wanted. That is democracy. Call it FPP if you like, or majority rules, but it is the only way a multiple candidate outcome can be democratically elected. STV does not do that. It takes away from the elector the choice and then electronically arbitrarily ranks them. The result is chaos and totally at odds with the elector’s wishes.

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Paul; you say you are bewildered why Muldoon won two elections with lesser votes than Labour. As the national elections carry a multitude of electorates (as opposed to our DCC elections with three, should be one.) the size of the electorates and the number of votes varied greatly. Hence, for decades National won with the country votes (electorates) thus earning the title ‘the farmers’ party’. Again, nothing to do with MMP or FPP. It did however result in MMP and the party vote carrying equal weight with the candidate vote. Seems to work. STV as applied to the single electorate/multi candidate outcome is where the distortion arises. It works OK with the single candidate outcome, as in the Mayoralty contest.

  8. Calvin, I think your confusion is driven by our rather unusual former FPP system. Normally in multiple candidate FPP ward/electorates you only get one vote. Instead, here we had some strange variant where we received the same number of votes as there were open seats. This has lead you to the erroneous belief that you have the democratic right to more than one vote.

  9. Hi Calvin (thanks James)

    I don’t mind people not understanding STV, I mind deeply people thinking they do know the system, but being completely wrong.

    The problem with an FPP approach to electing multiple candidates in a ward system, is that you actually have a very weird situation, where you have extra democracy – you have 11 votes. Now this may seem like nirvana to some, but it’s just weird and the fathers of democracy will be spinning in their togas in their tombs.

    Now (resisting the urge to type in all capitals), follow this very very slowly for the sake of trying to make a very simple voting system even clearer.

    Under STV (regardless of how many candidates are required to be elected) you only get ONE vote.

    If I had voted for Jinty (my first preference), and she was elected on the second iteration, that’s it, I don’t have any other votes. I voted for Jinty first and foremost for council.

    Under STV you DO NOT get 11 votes, despite there being 11 elected members.

    This is where so many people think that there is a disparity/inequality between the rural and urban wards. Each person only has one vote. Just as the founding fathers (sorry no mums) intended democracy to be, one person one vote.

    This is the beauty and simplicity of STV – it goes back to the original intentions of democracy.

    • Elizabeth

      Paul says: This is where so many people think that there is a disparity/inequality between the rural and urban wards.

      Just to note, Steve has commented on the lost opportunity for rural voters in Waikouaiti Coast – Chalmers ward and Mosgiel Taieri ward, in reply to my prompt.

      August 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm
      I said: Steve, the new ward system for Dunedin is a gross injustice to rural voters.

      August 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm
      Steve replied: I agree with you [Elizabeth]. Rural voters have no say in the election of 78.6% of those who will make decisions affecting them. [continues]


      In terms of fairness of representation I would say (IMHO) there is a natural ‘injustice’ and the matter should be addressed on constitutional and legal grounds as soon as possible.

      To date, no-one has organised that challenge. Properly, it should have had immediate action by the ‘disenfranchised’. Slow cogs – let’s hope it’s caught in formal review processes rather than have private citizens write large cheques to the legal profession, again.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    Paul; thank you for the lecture. I particularly like the bit about the capitals. That is what I like about academics, always ones to pontificate regardless. I understand perfectly that STV delivers just one effective vote. However, I was invited to elect a council of 11. If I could tick the box of any number up to a maximum of 11 individual candidates of my choice, why should that selection not be treated as a composite, equally ranked council vote? That would be democracy. Then the peoples’ will would not be hijacked by a complex mathematical process.
    Paul, the real problem with FPP as perceived, is not with the system, but rather the voters. If 100% of the electorate voted, the outcome would be true. Your contention that it resulted in block voting thus jigging the outcome could not happen with a full referendum. So the solution would be to make it an offence not to vote, with a punitive fine for those not abiding by the rules. That way everyone would know where they stood. As it is, the VCP (very clever people) are the only ones who fully understand the beauty and the simplicity of the STV system, the average person on the street, if asked, would have no idea. So much for transparent democracy. I doubt very much if STV was the intention of the Grecian founders of the democratic process.

  11. Yes. I’m a little surprised that Calvin would advocate a return to multi-vote FPP. It’s a little hard to interpret how single STV votes would transfer back to a multivote FPP election. However, I wonder how many people who put down Acklin, Hudson, Bezett and Collins as their first preferences, might have also thrown their additional full value votes behind Walls and Guest. This, in combination with name familiarity leads me to think that under FPP Calvin might have got one more candidate that he did like, but several more that he really didn’t. The other very real alternative, given Cull and Thomson’s very high polling is that it might have been a landslide to Greater Dunedin in the central ward*.

    *OOOOOOOH, the penny drops. I wonder if this is the basis for Johnson’s attack (which I never really did understand).

  12. However, I was invited to elect a council of 11
    No, you were invited to elect someone to represent you in our democracy.

    If 100% of the electorate voted, the outcome would be true. Your contention that it resulted in block voting thus jigging the outcome could not happen with a full referendum.
    Nope. The number of people that vote is relatively immaterial*. It’s not necessarily ‘block’ voting, but that people would use their 11 votes for similar candidates. Hypothetically, if 30% of people wanted to cast all their votes for pro-stadium councillors, 25% for another relatively cohesive group (say Greater Dunedin), 25% for anti-stadium councillors, and the remaining 20% vote in a less patterned fashion, then under multivote FPP you could conceivably get an entirely pro-stadium council. Simply put, the group with biggest relatively cohesive block of supporters wins. You can see these trends in the STV voting — there are clearly groups favouring pro-stadium, Greater Dunedin, pro-business, green, youth and anti-stadium, with some overlap.

  13. Calvin Oaten

    ‘I was invited to elect someONE to represent me in our democracy.’ WRONG! If that is true, do you honestly believe that in order to arrive at a council of 11 (for the central ward) that each voter can only have 1 vote to count?
    ‘The number of voters who cast their votes is relatively immaterial.’ If that were true, theoretically, one person could be selected to vote for the whole ticket and that would be that. Why do we need to go to the bother of consulting the greater public at all? Of course voters would use their 11 votes for similar candidates, as best they could judge. But every voter doing the same thing would bring a total selected mix. If by some quirk they all voted for the same 11 that would be a genuine unanimous outcome. I can’t for the life of me understand why you see the process as needing to be so complicated. I understand perfectly what Warwick Johnson’s concerns are. Of course under multi-vote FPP you could get an entirely pro-stadium council. If that was the result it would clearly demonstrate the peoples’ support. Conversely, it could return the opposite. What we have got is a long, perhaps, maybe, almost, no not quite, but wait for another umpteen iterations and we will see, sort of system. How many iterations were there again? Over sixty I think. Balderdash!

  14. Richard

    Yes DS, “the penny HAS dropped”. Interesting though that we can now see that, in practice – except for single candidate positions – STV largely favours the status quo. Indeed, looking at the results of the 2004 in the ‘old’ Auckland City and then again in 2007, it was FPP that ‘rang the changes’.

    More to think about!

  15. Calvin Oaten

    Incidently, it was not my contention that if 100% of the electorate voted it would result in ‘block voting’ jigging the outcome. That was Paul’s. I don’t subscribe to the “block voting” thing at all. How could you tell?

  16. Calvin: Of course under multi-vote FPP you could get an entirely pro-stadium council. If that was the result it would clearly demonstrate the peoples’ support.
    Actually, quite the reverse. Under STV, you would need almost 90% of people’s support to receive a homogenous council. Under FPP, you could achieve the same result from 35% up.

    Richard: STV largely favours the status quo
    Actually, I think it merely reflects the fact that consensus is slow to change. Where as FPP can really magnify quite small swings of opinion into radical change, the smaller shifts under STV (and also MMP) simply reflect that people are slow to change. After all, if every time you vote, you decide you don’t like anybody that you voted for last time, you might start to wonder whether you were any good at picking winners. Instead, people’s opinions move more slowly. Personally, I don’t think that slow change is a bad thing from an electoral system.

  17. Calvin Oaten

    DS; at the risk of appearing obtuse, I ask, if under STV, you need almost 90% of peoples’ support to receive a homogenous council. Do you mean 90% of those who voted, or 90% of the full electorate’s eligible voters. Because with only some 50% or thereabouts acting it seems obvious that there will be distortions. These are compounded by the plethora of 39 candidates. Again, why would, under a multi-vote FPP result it not be possible to get an entirely pro stadium council?
    Again, why is it in the best interests of the voters to only get to vote for ONE candidate?
    Are you sure that STV simply reflects that people are slow to change? Could it be that STV in fact stifles peoples’ wish for change? You say FPP can really magnify quite small swings of opinion into radical change. I am not sure how you can verify that, bearing in mind the almost infinite variables of candidate numbers, voter turnout and issues in play at the time. I would venture to suggest that if you enlarged the graph of the election illustrating the STV iteration process through to the outcome, put it on an easel in the Octagon and asked every second person to comment, you would be met with stunned bemusement. And that is the crux of the matter. In order to be fair, first a voting system has to be open and transparent to other than ‘distracted scientists’, otherwise it is the antithesis of democracy.

  18. Calvin

    “That is what I like about academics, always ones to pontificate regardless. ”

    Shame I’m not an academic – but if I see one, I’ll be sure to see if s/he pontificates a little.

  19. Do you mean 90% of those who voted, or 90% of the full electorate’s eligible voters.
    90% of those that voted. Plenty of places (including Australia) have punitive measures in place to ‘force’ people to vote, but still have lower voting rates than New Zealand (NB: for parliamentary elections, don’t know about state/local body).

    You say FPP can really magnify quite small swings of opinion into radical change. I am not sure how you can verify that
    Historical parliamentary elections in NZ make this pretty obvious. And, as has been put more eloquently previously multi-vote FPP very much resembles the Belcher-Oaten method where largest minority rules.

    In order to be fair, first a voting system has to be open and transparent to other than ‘distracted scientists’
    I think it is. I think you want to wilfully misunderstand it because you do not like the election result. It is also not my ideal election result, however, I’m more inclined to believe that not everyone agrees with me, than I was robbed of the true will of the people by a malicious cantabrian computer.

  20. Thanks for the revision, Elizabeth. That also neatly illustrates why having 11 votes in the central ward would be even more undemocratic. Why should Mr Oaten have 11 votes, when someone living in a rural ward has 1 (or 2)?

  21. In order to be fair, first a voting system has to be open and transparent to other than ‘distracted scientists’, otherwise it is the antithesis of democracy.

    PS — Better get on to your MMP protest as well. Attempting to understand and replicate results from the Sainte-Laguë method also requires a computer and is not for the faint hearted.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    “Historical parliamentary elections in NZ make this pretty obvious.” Well, not really, as parliamentary electorates, in my time at least, have a single candidate outcome. Therefore FPP, MMP and STV would all be different from the 11 candidate result we are contending with here.
    “Why should Mr Oaten have 11 votes, when someone living in a rural ward has 1(or2)?” Exactly! Why have wards full stop?
    “Is the system fair?” You think it is. Question is, how many of the greater public would agree with you?
    “PS – Better get on with my MMP protest as well.” Again, we are not comparing apples with apples, still the problem of multi/ single candidate outcomes.

    DS, I think we can agree to differ, so it leaves me to wish you, and all, a very merry Christmas.

  23. parliamentary electorates, in my time at least, have a single candidate outcome
    Not overseas. This led to the coining of the phrase “one man, one vote”.

    Exactly! Why have wards full stop?
    On this, we can happily agree. Have a good Christmas, and perhaps in the new year we can talk transport :)

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 20 Dec 2010
      Most voters want to keep MMP: poll
      MMP is safe, according to a poll which tested opinion on the electoral system ahead of next year’s referendum. TV One’s Colmar Brunton poll, released tonight, showed 50 percent in favour of keeping it with 41 percent opposed and 9 percent who haven’t made up their minds. NZPA
      Read more

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