Community & Environment

Hamilton City Council to use new voting system

Hamilton’s Mayor and Councillors will now be elected under the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system.

Hamilton City Council Elected Members decided to switch from First Past the Post (FPP) to using STV for the 2022 and 2025 elections at today’s (6 August) Council meeting.

The change means that voters will rank the candidates in order of preference, rather than ticking the candidates they are voting for.

Mayor Paula Southgate said the decision was a brave one for Councillors who had been elected under FPP.

“We asked the community which system they thought is best for our city, they told us they wanted STV, and Elected Members have delivered on that,” she said.

“For me, this decision was about the fairness of STV over the simplicity of FPP. It’s ridiculous that a councillor can be elected based on the toss of a coin, which happens if two candidates get the same number of votes under FPP.

“STV is the fairer system and Hamilton’s voters will be better represented by the results it produces.”

Elected Members had the option to keep FPP, switch to STV, or conduct a formal poll of the city’s voters, either before or as part of the 2022 elections.

Seven members of the community spoke in public forum, with five supporting the switch to STV.

The results of a community survey run by the Council also showed that a majority of respondents favoured using STV.

The survey ran from 17 June to 17 July and attracted 928 submissions.

Overall, 726 respondents (78.1%) wanted to switch to STV and 202 (21.9%) preferred to keep using FPP.

Governance Manager Becca Brooke said the result is “a significant moment in Hamilton’s local government history”.

“Hamilton has used FPP for more than 140 years, but there was obviously a desire for change to a more proportional voting system,” she said.

“We now have an exciting opportunity to continue educating our voters about how STV works before the 2022 elections.”

In the 2019 elections, 67 of the 78 local authorities in New Zealand used FPP.

Click here to find out how to vote under STV.

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