I agree with Twyford

The Herald reports:

Labour wants to stop local board members sitting on more than one board in the Super City.

The party has responded to the case of pharmacist Warren Flaunty, who was elected to three Auckland Council local boards – Rodney, Henderson-Massey and Upper Harbour.

As well, he was re-elected to the Waitemata District Health Board and the Waitakere Licensing Trust. …

Yesterday, Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman, Phil Twyford, said the loophole that allowed Mr Flaunty to win five seats should be closed.

I agree. I think you should be able to stand for one board only. I would even go so far as to stop people staying for Council and DHB – people do it just to gain extra money from their name recognition.

“Power is already too concentrated in the hands of too few people running the Super City.”

A bit ironic, as Labour’s policy was to have fewer local boards.

“I will put up an amendment when Rodney Hide’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill comes back to the House in a few weeks,” Mr Twyford said.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide, the author of the Super City council structure, said Mr Twyford was looking to change the wrong law.

The way to address the issue and other concerns, such as postal voting, was through the regular review of the local body elections by the justice and electoral law select committee. That could lead to changes to the Local Electoral Act, he said.

Mr Hide said that personally, he did not think it was right for anyone to sit on more than one local board – “MPs can’t represent three electorates.

“But I will be guided by Parliament and the proper place to consider it is the select committee,” he said.

I agree with Twyford’s intent but Rodney is right that you should submit to the review of the elections – I certainly intend to.

My thoughts for improvement at the moment are:

  • Ban multiple candidacies or at least multiple roles if elected
  • Encourage councils to have more one person wards – you get more informed decision making from people having to select say one preferred person from half a dozen locals, than try and select three to five people from a list of 20 – 30
  • Either stop having DHB elections on the grounds there is miniscule informed voting, or change them from STV and/or introduce smaller wards for DHBs so voters don’t face 30+ names to rank.
  • The issue of STV and FPP is challenging. FPP is much more user friendly for multiple vacancy elections (tick three people instead of rank 30 people) but STV can work quite nicely in single vacancy elections (rank from 1 to 7 these mayoral candidates). It would be good to have DIA or LGNZ or someone do some research amongst voters about how they find the different systems. I’m not worried about outcomes under either system – my interest is how do we lift turnout, and get more informed voting.
  • I will also advocate for term limits for Mayors at least. I think term limits remove some of the advantages of incumbency, especially when a lot of voting is based on name recognition alone.

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