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STV Information

This site is hosted by the Department of Internal Affairs and is here to provide you with information about:

NOTE: The Department's role in providing this information is to inform the public about STV and the processes by which local authorities may choose to adopt it. We are not supporting either STV or FPP.

What is STV?

STV stands for Single Transferable Vote. In its simplest form, STV means that voters are able to rank candidates in order of preference, rather than simply pick their most preferred candidate for each vacancy. Meek's method has been selected as the system for counting votes in New Zealand STV elections.

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STV is new to most New Zealanders. Until now, local authority elections have been conducted using the FPP (First Past the Post) electoral system. (STV was used for elections to the Christchurch City Council in 1917, 1929, 1931 and 1933, and for Woolston Borough Council in 1917 and 1919. STV has also been used in some private capacities, such as the election of members to the Board of Directors and Shareholders Council of Fonterra in April 2002). FPP was the system used to elect Members of Parliament until the introduction of MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) in 1996.

Click here for:(Please note that this has been scanned from an old document and may be a little difficult to read)

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When will STV be used in New Zealand?

STV will be used to elect members of District Health Boards in 2004 and will be used to elect members of 10 local authorities.
See table below

District Health Board Elections
District Health Board elections are held at the same time as local authority elections. The first election of members to District Health Boards took place in October 2001 under FPP. People who voted in those elections will remember that voting papers for their local authority, regional council and District Health Board all looked the same and all the papers required voters to tick one candidate for each vacancy.

In 2004, the District Health Board elections will be held using STV, so voters will have some voting papers that do not look like FPP voting papers.

Other local authority elections, held at the same time, will be held using either STV or FPP.

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The option for local authorities to adopt STV
Local authorities include city, district and regional councils. Some areas also have licensing trusts. Each of these local authorities may choose to adopt STV for next local authority elections in 2004. If a local authority has not changed its electoral system, and if a poll has not been held, the option of adopting STV arises again in 2005, ahead of the elections in 2007. The
Local Electoral Act 2001 sets out the steps that must be taken for STV to be adopted:
  • By September 12, every local authority may choose to make a resolution on which electoral system will be used for the 2004 election. A local authority may resolve to adopt STV or may resolve to stay with FPP. If a council does not make a resolution, FPP remains in place for the elections in 2004.
  • By 19 September, every local authority must give public notice of the right for the public to demand a poll on the electoral system to be used in the next election. The notice about polls will take one of two forms:
  • If the local authority has made a resolution over the electoral system, the notice will advise the public that a poll would be required to change that resolution
  • If the local authority has not made a resolution, the notice will advise the public that the electoral system remains FPP and that a poll would be required if a change to STV were sought.
  • By 28 February, a council may itself resolve to hold a poll, regardless of whether or not a demand for a poll has been received.
  • To be valid, a demand for a poll must be signed by at least 5% of the electors who were enrolled at the previous general election.
  • The public have the right to demand a poll on electoral systems at any time, although a valid demand must be received by a local authority by 28 February 2003 if the results of the poll are to apply to the elections in 2004. If a valid poll demand is received after 28 February, its results will not apply until the election in 2007. When a local authority receives a demand for a poll, it must check that there are enough signatures on the demand and that the signatures are valid. If the poll demand is valid, the chief executive of the local authority must give notice to the electoral officer.
  • The local authority must hold the poll within 82 days after the electoral officer has been notified of the valid demand for a poll.
If the electoral system to be used at the next triennial election is determined by a poll or by a council resolution to change electoral systems, then that electoral system applies for two consecutive elections. On the other hand, if a council remains with the existing electoral system, then the option of changing electoral system arises two years ahead of the next election. This means that the option of adopting STV will arise again in 2005, two years ahead of the 2007 election.

Polls on Electoral Systems - FPP or STV
A number of polls, asking communities to decide between STV and FPP, were held around the country between March and May 2003. For further information about these polls, please contact your local authority.

A brochure that explains the reason for the poll and gives some information on STV and FPP, was included with poll voting documents. Link below to mock-ups of English and Maori language versions of the brochure featuring the Department of Internal Affairs logo. (Individual local authorities will use their own logo.)

Note: These documents are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the
Adobe site.

Which Electoral System for which Local Authority
The following table shows which electoral system will be used by each local authority. Some of these decisions (where indicated) are the result of public polls held between March and May 2003.

This table was last updated on 22 May 2003.

First Past the Post
    Ashburton District Council
    Auckland City Council
    Auckland Regional Council
    Banks Peninsula District Council*
    Buller District Council
    Carterton District Council*
    Central Hawkes Bay District Council
    Central Otago District Council
    Christchurch City Council*
    Clutha District Council
    Environment Bay of Plenty
    Environment Canterbury
    Environment South
    Environment Waikato
    Far North District Council
    Franklin District Council
    Gisborne District Council
    Gore District Council
    Grey District Council
    Hamilton City Council
    Hastings District Council
    Hauraki District Council
    Hawkes Bay Regional Council
    Horizons Manawatu-Wanganui
    Horowhenua District Council*
    Hurunui District Council
    Hutt City Council*
    Invercargill City Council
    Kaikoura District Council
    Kawerau District Council
    Manawatu District Council
    Manukau City Council
    Masterton District Council*
    McKenzie District Council
    Napier City Council*
    Nelson City Council*
    New Plymouth District Council
    North Shore City Council
    Northland Regional Council
    Opotiki District Council**
    Otago Regional Council
    Otorohanga District Council
    Palmerston North City Council*
    Queenstown-Lakes District Council
    Rangitikei District Council
    Rodney District Council
    Rotorua District Council
    Ruapehu District Council
    Selwyn District Council
    South Taranaki District Council
    South Waikato District Council
    South Wairarapa District Council*
    Southland District Council
    Stratford District Council
    Taranaki Regional Counicl
    Tararua District Council*
    Tasman District Council*
    Taupo District Council
    Tauranga District Council
    Timaru District Council
    Upper Hutt City Council
    Waikato District Council
    Waimakariri District Council
    Waimate District Council
    Waipa District Council*
    Wairoa District Council
    Waitakere City Council
    Waitaki District Council
    Waitomo District Council
    Wanganui District Council
    Wellington Regional Council
    West Coast Regional Council
    Western Bay of Plenty District Council
    Westland District Council
    Whakatane District Council
    Whangarei District Council*

    *These councils have chosen to remain with FPP as the result of a public poll.
    **Opotiki initially adopted STV as a result of a council decision, but has now adopted FPP as a result of a public poll.
    Chatham Islands Council
    Dunedin City Council*
    Kaipara District Council
    Kapiti Coast District Council
    Marlborough District Council
    Matamata Piako District Council
    Papakura District Council
    Porirua City Council
    Thames-Coromandel District Council*
    Wellington City Council*

    * These councils have adopted STV as the result of a public poll.

Further Information
  • STV implementation Information about the implementation of STV, including the Department's STV Implementation project, development of the STV Calculator and public information campaigns.

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Last updated: 19/11/2003