The Representation Review: Residents Deserve More Choice. – Crs Mike Davidson and Sara Templeton
Rosemary also suggests we ask CCC to hold a poll on moving to STV voting system. Many other councils have done this, and Submissions due by 16 May submit here.
Kia ora koutou. It’s not in the current proposal, but here’s our plug for our 16 Councillors to be elected ‘at large’ across community board areas at the next election – like we did until 2016. Consultation is open until May 16th and there are boundary changes too, so please have your say online.
- It gives voters more choice. Since we have moved to single councillor wards the number of candidates per seat has dropped from an average of 3.9 to 2.6. In 2016 4 councillors were even elected unopposed, so no one got to vote for them.
- It gives residents more options after the election. With 3 councillors representing your area you can choose which you contact – some will align more with your views than others and sometimes one is sick and another can fill in. There will be three to back your cause or take up issues.
- It promotes a ‘best for city’ approach with less patch protection. Community board members are tasked with the local geographic decisions and issues and councillors need to keep their heads at the city and communities of interest level as well as knowing what local residents need.
- It promotes diversity. Since moving to single councillor wards the percentage of women elected has dropped from an average of 43% to 28% and last election there were only 7 women out of 46 candidates. There’s a lot of research into the sub-conscious bias that plays into this, both in terms of women standing and voter choice. We don’t have data for other measures of diversity, but we should.
- Local representation is done really well by community board members and the desire to have local people elected as councillors hasn’t eventuated, with several councillors living across town from the wards they represent.
- Having only one seat up for grabs raises the stakes and the average candidate spend has ended up higher relative to the ward size than it was with larger wards. In 2013 with large wards but two seats the average spend was $4872 and in 2016 with wards less than half the size but one seat it was $4501.
How we elect our representatives matters and we all get a say in how it happens, but the Council is not the final decision maker as there is a clear conflict of interest. The Council will make a recommendation to the Local Government Commission, who makes it and anyone who makes a submission can then appeal to the LGC if they disagree with the Council recommendation.