Local Elections 2022

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Local elections are your chance to vote for your local representative and to have a say in decisions that affect our whole community. They are held for city, district, regional councils and (in some parts of New Zealand) for community boards, licensing trusts, and some other organisations. District Health Boards are no longer included in local elections because of changes currently underway to our health system. 

In the Far North, our Council currently consists of the Mayor, nine councillors and 19 community board members who are elected to represent the communities of the Far North. They are elected every three years.  

The next local body elections will held be on Saturday 8 October 2022, by postal vote. It is important that you have your say in who represents you by voting in the local body elections. 

If you have never enrolled to vote before, are 18 years or over, and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand, you can enrol here Enrol or update online | Vote NZ or contact the Electoral Commission.

What's different for local elections in the Far North?

A few things have changed for voters in the Far North since the last local elections in 2019.

  • We've switched to Single Transferable Vote (STV) from a First Past the Post (FPP) voting system.
  • We’re proposing to increase the number of councillors from nine to ten as part of our Representation Review.
  • We're introducing one district-wide Māori ward in this election. 

We've switched to Single Transferable Vote (STV) 

Single Transferable Voting is a proportional system.  When voting using STV, instead of ticking the candidate you want, you rank candidates in order of preference – “1” beside your most preferred candidate, “2” beside the second-most preferred, and so on. 

To be elected, a candidate must get a certain number of votes. This is known as the ‘quota’ and is worked out after voting has closed. The quota is calculated by dividing the total number of votes received by the number of vacancies, plus one vote. 

To be elected, a candidate must get enough votes to reach the quota. If there is more than one vacancy, votes received over the quota are partially transferred to other candidates in order of voter preference. Those with fewest votes are eliminated and their votes are partially transferred to other candidates. This process repeats until enough candidates reach the quota and all vacancies are filled.

Questions and answers about STV

Which councils in New Zealand use STV?

In the 2019 local government elections, 11 out of 78 local authorities used STV: Dunedin City Council, Kaipara District Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Marlborough District Council, New Plymouth District Council (1st time), Porirua City Council, Ruapehu District Council (1st time), Tauranga City Council (1st time), Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Palmerston North City Council.

How do I vote under STV?

In an STV election, you have one vote and rank the candidates in order of preference. You give a 1 to your favourite candidate, 2 to your second favourite and so on. You can rank as many candidates as you like – you don’t need to rank them all. By ranking the candidates, parts of your vote may be shared between the candidates you support according to your preferences. If the candidate you most want to win gets more votes than they need to be elected, because a lot of other people voted for them too, part of your vote may be transferred to your next choice. The same thing happens if your top choice is really unpopular and doesn’t get enough votes to be elected – your vote for them will be transferred to your next preference until all positions are filled.

How are votes counted under STV?

The votes are counted in stages. All first preference votes are counted first. To be elected, candidates must reach what’s called the quota – a number based on the total number of valid votes and the number of vacant positions. When a candidate reaches the quota and is elected, a portion of the surplus votes go to their voters’ second choices. If no other candidates reach the quota and there are positions still to be filled, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are transferred according to voters’ second choices. These steps are repeated until all of the positions are filled. If voters didn’t give any second or subsequent preferences, those votes cannot be transferred and the quota is recalculated to exclude the non-transferable votes.

All of the vote counting is done by computer using specialist software. The Department of Internal Affairs developed the programme (called the STV calculator). It has been independently audited and certified, as required by law.

What are the advantages of STV?

Under STV, the election results are more likely to reflect the preferences of a greater number of voters. Because voters’ second, third, and other preferences are taken into account, the results are a more accurate indication of the total support each candidate has. As STV maximises the number of votes that help to elect candidates, there is also a higher probability of more voters being represented by someone they voted for. 

Is the same process used to count the mayoral votes as the one used for councillors?

Yes, it’s the same process. The quota the winning mayoral candidate needs to reach is an absolute majority – more than 50% of the votes.

How is the quota calculated under STV?

In an STV election, the quota is the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected. It is calculated from the total number of valid votes cast and the number of vacant positions. In the case of mayoral elections, the quota is an absolute majority (more than 50%).

Do voters have to rank everyone?

No. You can rank as many or as few candidates as you wish, so your vote is still valid even if you only rank some candidates.

What does STV look like?

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What will the Representation Review change?

Every six years we are required by law to review representation arrangements in the Far North and to check whether the structure of the Council accurately reflects our communities.  Te Arotake Whakakanohitanga, the Representation Review in 2021 proposed the following changes:

  • The introduction of a Māori ward, Ngā Tai o Tokerau, with four councillors for this ward elected by voters on the Māori Electoral Roll.  
  • An extra councillor to be added, bringing the total to 10 to reflect the increase in population.
  • A new subdivision to be created for Waipapa.
  • Some minor ward boundary swaps between Community Boards.

Council adopted its final proposal on 4 November 2021. The final proposal differs from the initial proposal, with a couple of minor changes: 

  • Bay of Islands-Whangaroa ward and Community Board to retain existing name (not Te Pēwhairangi-Whangaroa as proposed)
  • Maromākū and Waiomio remain within the Kawakawa-Moerewa subdivision
  • The boundary of the Kerikeri subdivision to include Purerua peninsula (Purerua Road and Taronui Bay)

Once the objection period closes on 13 December 2021, the Local Government Commission (LGC) will make its determination before 10 April 2022.  If the LGC determine that no changes are to be made to the final proposal, these changes will be in effect for at least the 2022 local body election.

For more information go to Representation Review 2021 Far North District Council (fndc.govt.nz)

What will introducing Māori Wards mean?

The Council sought informal feedback on Māori wards from the community as part of its Representation Review in March 2021. In all, the Council received 499 responses on Māori representation. Of those, 408 responses (81.76 per cent) supported Māori wards.  Far North District councillors voted to establish Māori wards for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections following an extraordinary Council meeting in May 2021. 

The Māori ward, Ngā Tai o Tokerau, will cover the entire district and comprise of four councillors elected by voters on the Māori Electoral Roll.

Fair representation means each elected member represents roughly the same number of people.  There is a "plus 10% rule" to help us avoid unnatural divisions between wards.  In 2020 there were 25,000 people in the Far North on the Māori electoral roll and 46,050 on the general roll.  That means:

  • Each general ward councillor represents between 6907 and 8442 people
  • Each Māori ward councillor represents between 5625 and 6875 people.

Questions and answers about Māori wards

Do I need to be on the Māori electoral roll or of Māori descent if I'm standing for election in a Māori ward?

No. To be eligible you must be a New Zealand citizen and your name must be on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll anywhere in New Zealand.

You will need to be nominated by two electors whose names appear on the Māori electoral roll within the area of elections for which you are standing. 

Equally if you are on the Māori roll you can stand in a General wards, and will need to be nominated by two electors whose names appear on the General electoral roll within the area of election for which you are standing.

Does the roll I am on affect who I vote for on community boards?

No – both rolls will vote for their community board members, and the Mayor.

I want to move to the Māori electoral roll

I am Māori, currently on the general electoral roll but want to move to the Māori electoral roll so I can vote for councillors in the Māori ward – can I do this before the next local body elections? 

No – the next available opportunity to change rolls will be in 2024. This is determined by central government (the Electoral Commission) under the Māori Electoral Option, which is usually held every 5 years (the last one was in 2018) - refer Electoral Commission | New Zealand Government www.govt.nz.

How do I find out which electoral roll I am on (Māori or General)?

The Electoral Commission is responsible for electoral rolls under Vote.nz. Please visit their website at Home | Vote NZ or call them on 0800 36 76 56

 

Key dates for the local election 2022

Nominations open for inspection

Friday 15 July 2022

Nominations close (at midday)

Friday 12 August 2022

Delivery of voting documents

Friday 16 September to Wed 21 September 2022

Election day (voting closes at midday)

Saturday 8 October 2022

Declaration of result

Thursday 13 October to Wednesday 19 October 2022 (or as soon as practicable)

For general information about local body elections

Information on standing and voting in local body elections as well as answer to other frequently asked questions can be found on the websites below: