Tag Archives: STV

Voting Closes on Saturday

Vote 1

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Don’t Forget – Voting Closes on Saturday

This item was published on 07 Oct 2013.

It’s time to get those papers in – voting for the local body elections closes on Saturday.

If you haven’t already sent your voting papers in, now is the time to fill them out and return them. The elections are held by postal vote and papers must be mailed or delivered in time to be received by 12 noon on Election Day, Saturday 12 October.

Wednesday [was] the last recommended date for posting to ensure voting papers are received in time, but people can drop them in at the Civic Centre until Saturday.

The Electoral Officer for the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Regional Council and the Southern District Health Board, Pam Jordan, says if you have not received voting papers, you can cast a special vote.

The best way to do this now is to visit the Special Voting Booth in the Plaza Meeting Room in the Civic Centre. The booth is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm, and also on Saturday morning.

Ms Jordan says fewer people have voted so far than at the same point in the past three elections. As of Friday, 18.65% of voting papers for this area had been returned, compared with 28.44% for the same period in 2010.

Daily voting paper returns can be seen at http://www.electionz.com/elections/lgereturns/ELT71DU13_returns.htm

Contact Electoral Officer, Dunedin City Council on 477 4000.

DCC Link

Related Posts and Comments:
10.10.13 LGNZ: Local authority election results (advisory)
3.10.13 Exercise your right to VOTE

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LGNZ: Local authority election results (advisory)

Received by Mayors, Chairs and Chief Executives
Tuesday, 8 October 2013 9:39 a.m.

Local Government New Zealand
MEDIA ADVISORY
Local authority election results – Saturday 12 October 2013

Voting for local authority elections closes at midday on Saturday 12 October. Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) will have a selection of election results available to the media from mid-afternoon on 12 October as follows:

LGNZ info[click to enlarge]

Information on past election results is currently available on LGNZ’s website.

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Media contact and spokespeople
To request any of the above information or to arrange an interview, please contact Helen Mexted, LGNZ’s Director of Advocacy on 029 924 1221.

The following LGNZ spokespeople will be available to provide media commentary pre and post the election results:

Lawrence Yule – LGNZ President
Lawrence previously represented the Provincial Sector on the National Council. He has been Mayor of Hastings District since 2001, where he also won the honour of being Hastings District’s youngest Mayor. He continues to be at the forefront of not only district, but regional initiatives.

Malcolm Alexander – LGNZ Chief Executive
Malcolm has successfully led LGNZ through a significant period of recent change. He leads the organisation’s day-to-day management, relationships with its members and other stakeholders, and strategy and policy development. Malcolm was previously at Genesis Energy where he held the position of General Manager, Corporate Affairs. He was a member of the Board of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development between 2008 and 2012 and was the Independent Chair of the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum between 2002 and 2008.

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About LGNZ and local government in New Zealand
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is the peak body representing New Zealand’s 78 local, regional and unitary authorities. LGNZ advocates for local democracy, develops local government policy, and promotes best practice and excellence in leadership, governance and service delivery. Through its work strengthening sector capability, LGNZ contributes to the economic success and vibrancy of communities and the nation.

The local government sector plays an important role. In addition to giving citizens a say in how their communities are run, councils own a broad range of community assets worth more than $120 billion. These include 90 per cent of New Zealand’s road network, the bulk of the country’s water and waste water networks, and libraries, recreation and community facilities. Council expenditure is approximately $8.5 billion dollars, representing approximately 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 11 per cent of all public expenditure.

For more information visit: www.lgnz.co.nz

Download:
LGNZ Media Advisory Local Authority Elections Announcement
(PDF, 280 KB)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Exercise your right to VOTE

### ODT Online Thu, 3 Oct 2013
Alarm at low voter turnout
By Chris Morris
There are calls for online voting to be fast-tracked as Dunedin City Council voting returns slump towards a record low in this year’s local body elections. The idea was raised by Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule as voter returns for the DCC election crawled to 11.7% by yesterday afternoon.
With 10 days until postal voting closes at noon on October 12, the figure is well down on the same point in the past two DCC elections.
In 2010, 21.12% of voters had responded by now, and in 2007, returns stood at 18.09%. In both cases, last-minute rushes saw returns reaching 52.96% (2010) and 47.47% (2007).
However, this year’s results were shaping as a record low, at least in recent memory, although another last-minute rush was possible, Dunedin electoral officer Pam Jordan said.
Mr Yule told the Otago Daily Times the returns to date in Dunedin were a ”worry” and underscored the need to move towards online voting.
Dunedin’s results appear to be at odds with most other local authorities across Otago, where returns to date are similar to the 2010 election.
Read more

Dunedin electoral information via the DCC website:
http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/electoral-information

DCC Candidates —Mayor, Councillors, Community Boards

ORC Candidates

SDHB Candidates

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Alert: Dunedin voters —Mayors gain more powers

Following the 2013 local body elections . . .
THERE IS A MASSIVE GAME CHANGE

Is this why Greater Debt Dunedin’s campaigning so hard, with help from ‘friends’? Read on.

Firstly, ‘overthinking’ an image, and an opinion piece from the Nelson Mail (June 2013). Followed by ‘Friday news’ from New Zealand Herald, reproduced in Saturday’s Otago Daily Times (page 3). Lastly, importantly, you’re urged to VOTE – a plea appearing in the ODT, indicating 9 October is the last date by which to safely post your completed voting papers.

Emperors new clothes [catherinewhite.files.wordpress.com] re-imaged 1VOTE carefully oh so carefully, please

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### nelsonmail.co.nz Last updated 13:39 12/06/2013
New accountability for mayors
By Keith Marshall
OPINION New law changes passed at the end of last year created some major changes ahead for local government. One of the most important changes, in my view, arises from legally and politically empowering mayors to do the job we expect of them. And, along with that legal empowerment comes some genuine public accountability to perform.
After the coming election, mayors nationwide gain new powers. A mayor will be able to legally appoint their own deputy mayor, appoint all committee chairs and determine the structure of council committees, including which elected councillors are appointed on to those. The legal power to decide their own political teams, structures and processes means that mayors will gain a huge level of political control over councils that they currently do not legally have.
Adding to this direct political control, mayors from the next election onward will also legally be personally responsible for driving the setting of council plans and budgets. This, alone, is a huge change.

Indeed, it may be surprising to learn that currently mayors around the country have no real substantive legal powers – largely the current legal role is one of a “first citizen” and in chairing meetings of the elected council.
Mayors, currently, do not have the legal authority to choose their own political teams nor structures, they do not determine council agendas and nor do they drive council budgets or plans. Right now, those decisions are made by the whole of the elected council and in those decisions, as in all others, mayors have just one vote at the council table, the same as all councillors.
In some ways being a mayor under the current law is a potentially thankless task – one in which they are the public face of the council, and get to be “blamed” for any and all decisions made by the elected council whether or not they personally supported or voted against those decisions.
On the other hand, the current situation also makes it very difficult for us voters to hold our current mayors, and councillors, individually accountable for the decision-making of the whole of the elected council (and the subject of a future column).

In the future, just what and how issues are dealt with will be determined by the mayors themselves; maybe in conjunction with their councillor supporters, or perhaps sometimes even just off their own cognisance.

All decisions of the council will be directly influenced by the mayor through the exercise of their new powers. This is very real political power never before seen in local government in New Zealand – something much more akin to the “presidential” type of mayor as seen in the United States.
Accordingly, at the next council elections, whoever we elect as mayors of Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council will have the legal ability to carry out any election promises they may have made. Any mayoral candidate can set out a vision for us and, unlike at any other time in the past, be in a position to bring that vision into reality if they become mayor. This is a new legal environment for local government.

So what? Well, for one thing, the new law change means that mayors (and their councillor supporters who the mayor will appoint to key roles) will now be more obviously accountable for all decisions. Along with the ability/responsibility to make things happen (via legal powers) goes some true accountability.
Read more

● Keith Marshall is a company director and the former Nelson City Council chief executive. Previously, he has owned Thrifty Rental Cars NZ, managed the last nationwide health reforms and participated in the NZ-China FTA negotiations.

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### nzherald.co.nz 1:35 PM Friday Sep 27, 2013
Mayors given extra powers
By Rebecca Quilliam
Mayors throughout the country will become more powerful under new law changes set to come into action after October’s local elections. The changes will allow mayors to appoint their own deputies, set the structure of committees and appoint committee chairpeople.
Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said the changes had the potential to bring real benefits. It enabled new councils to “hit the ground running” and for councillors to work more effectively together, Mr Yule said.

Mayors would become responsible for driving the set up of major plans and budgets, which included long-term and annual plans.

They would also be more accountable for their decisions, Mr Yule said.
The law changes bring all the country’s councils in line with the powers already granted to the Auckland Mayor under the Super City process. The new powers would encourage cross-council collaboration because, in order to use them, a mayor needed the majority support of councillors, he said.
Voting papers for city, district and regional councils have now been sent out. These must be returned posted or hand-delivered in time to reach the relevant electoral officer by noon on October 12. APNZ
NZH Link

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DUNEDIN
Participation in electoral process urged (ODT 18.9.13)
http://www.odt.co.nz/elections-2013/dunedin/273671/participation-electoral-process-urged

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image via catherinewhite.files.wordpress.com – ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ re-spun by Whatifdunedin

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DCC: Council consolidated debt $623 million

If taken together, core council and stadium debt has increased $130 million, from $240 million to $370 million, during the past three years.

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Sep 2013
Varied stances on question of debt
By Chris Morris
Dunedin’s debt mountain is reaching new heights, but the Dunedin City Council says everything is under control. Reporter Chris Morris speaks to the city’s mayoral candidates about whether they would do anything differently. The eight men and one woman who want to be Dunedin’s next mayor are divided over debt. They are divided over the figures, divided over the plan and divided over what they would do differently.
Some have declared themselves happy with the Dunedin City Council’s approach to debt repayments. Others remain opposed, and have called for cost-cutting, more money from the council’s companies and even for assets to be sold, including Wall Street mall and Forsyth Barr Stadium. And, in the meantime, the debt mountain continues to climb towards a projected peak that is still two years away.

As it stands, the council’s consolidated debt – shared between the council, its companies and the stadium – has reached $623 million, council staff confirmed yesterday.

That was up $125 million since the start of incumbent Mayor Dave Cull’s term in mid-2010, albeit mostly – but not completely – as a result of spending on major capital projects agreed to by previous councils.
Within the debt mountain, core council debt – the bit ratepayers are directly responsible for servicing – stands at $225 million. That has actually gone down $15 million, from $240 million in 2010, but only because stadium debt – totalling $145 million – has been split from the core council debt tally, to become its own category, since 2010. Add the $253 million in debt held by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd and its subsidiaries – the council’s group of companies – and the total reaches $623 million.
Read more + Mayoral Candidate Views

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Mayoral candidates 2013Dunedin Mayoral Candidates 2013
Left to right, (top) Hilary Calvert, Dave Cull, Kevin Dwyer, (middle) Pete George, Aaron Hawkins, Olivier Lequeux, (bottom) Steve McGregor, Lee Vandervis, Andrew Whiley

DCC website — electoral information

Council Elections: STV Q&A – see Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgelar

Faces appearing – and disappearing – in all manner of places (ODT 26.9.13)

Vote

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Sep 2013
Editorial: Rights and responsibilities
While the eyes of some people glaze over at the mention of local body elections, the fact is they offer the biggest opportunity for the average citizen to influence the direction of their community for the next three years – and often much further into the future.
Postal voting papers should now have been delivered to households, and voters have until Saturday, October 12, to make decisions about who they want to represent them as mayor, on city or district councils, community boards, licensing trusts, regional councils and health boards.
The choices we make in these local body elections will affect us, and others in our community. They influence everything from the health services we receive, to roading, water and sewerage infrastructure, social, cultural and sporting and recreational amenities, and planning and development. There are services we take for granted, those we believe are fundamental to our lives, those we bemoan the lack of, and inefficiencies we believe frustrating or unnecessary.
The choices should not be made lightly. Voters are encouraged to carefully read their supplied candidate and voting information and as much other material as they can source in order to make informed decisions about those who will then be expected to make educated decisions on behalf of us.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Events Notice: How do I vote using STV? #Dunedin

A public talk by University of Otago Politics Department on voting in New Zealand under the STV system. Questions such as “How does STV work for me?” and “How is my vote counted under STV?” will be answered.

Thanks for the alert this morning.

Janet Gebbie
Submitted on 2013/09/19 at 7:52 am

Voting using STV
Dept of Politics at University of Otago presenting a public talk : How do I vote in local government elections using STV?

Event 1 – Wed 25 Sept 6:30pm, Barclay Theatre (Otago Museum).

Event 2 – Thurs 26 Sept 6:30pm, St Andrew’s Lounge, Caversham Presbyterian Church, Thorn Street, Caversham, Dunedin.

More information:
https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/events/talks-classes-and-workshops/how-do-i-vote-using-stv

Politics | Phone: 03 479 8663 | Email: politics @ otago.ac.nz | Website: http://www.otago.ac.nz/politicalstudies/

Related Posts and Comments:
26.8.10 In defence of STV
22.8.10 Why NOT…. the STV voting system

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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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
Opinion

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

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