The city’s biggest residents’ organisation is today telling the Wellington City Council that it wants a change to the way we vote in next year’s local elections.
The Federation of Wellington Progressive and Residents’ Associations wants all voters to be able to choose from all candidates, rather than only for those nominated within one of the city’s five wards. The STV system would then count the votes on a city-wide basis. with a fairer result.
The Federation disagrees with the council’s August decision not to make any change – this decision means that the city would continue to be divided into five wards, with voters only able to choose from the candidates nominated in their area.
This decision, says the Federation, serves only the purpose of those who made it and is not in the best interests of the whole city.
The new voting system would be known as “a Council elected At Large.” The Federation believes this is preferable because all councillors take an oath to act in the best interests of the entire city, and not just of the district where they were elected.
It says the change would be beneficial for Wellington for the following reasons:
It would give an opportunity for representatives to be elected for their skills and interests, rather than because of where they live.
Voters could vote for candidates who would represent them best
The STV electoral system is most effective when electing 5 or more members
The Federation is critical of the fact that the council made its decision in August without any prior discussion with communities, and it says this process, or lack of it, fails to meet the requirements of the local government legislation and its guidelines.
The issue is to be discussed at next week’s council meeting.
The Federation is a collective of around 30 Wellington organisations.
One of its associated organisations has not supported the “at large plan. The Churton Park Residents Association advised:
we have been well served by the ward system in elections for councillors to WCC, and see no reason to change it. . . Part of our reasoning is that by having ward councillors there is a group of three who understand our local issues and are willing to present them at council meetings. If the system reverted to elections at large, it could well be that there were no councillors elected from the northern suburbs, and consequently no one who would be willing to go in to bat for us, which would be to the detriment of our community.