Electoral System

Horowhenua District Council currently operates its elections under the first past the post (FPP) electoral system.

Electors vote by indicating their preferred candidate(s), and the candidate(s) that receives the most votes is declared the winner regardless of the proportion of votes that candidate(s) obtained.

The other option permitted under the Local Electoral Act 2001 is the single transferable vote (STV) system. This system is used in district health board elections (as from 2004). Electors rank candidates in order of preference (1, 2, 3, 4 etc.).

The number of votes required for a candidate to be elected (called the quota) depends on the number of positions to be filled and the number of valid votes. The necessary number of candidates to fill all vacancies is achieved first by the counting of first preferences then by a transfer of a proportion of votes received by any candidate where the number of votes for that candidate is in excess of the quota, and then by the exclusion of the lowest polling candidates and the transfer of these votes in accordance with voters’ second preferences.

Can the electoral system be changed?

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 the Council can resolve to change the electoral system to be used at the next two elections or conduct a binding poll on the question, or electors can demand a binding poll. A poll can be initiated by at least 5 per cent of electors signing a petition demanding that a poll be held. Once changed, an electoral system must be used for at least the next two triennial general elections, i.e. we cannot change our electoral system for one election and then change back for the next election.

2018/2019 Representation Review

Horowhenua District Council’s electoral system underwent a review in 2018 as part of the six yearly Representation Review. As part of the Representation Review Council looked at the structure of its membership and the way they are elected.

Following a period of public submissions, Council resolved not to change the electoral system for the 2019 and 2022 elections. The decision was appealed and the Local Government Commission reviewed the process and in April 2019 the Commission upheld Council's resolution. You can read the full decision on the Local Government Commission's website.