14 seats to vote for is too many

The ODT report:

The Dunedin City Council will consider switching to a single city-wide ward and giving community boards more powers after some voters complained of being disenfranchised, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says.

Mr Cull told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he had heard directly from up to 30 people, mainly in the Waikouaiti Coast-Chalmers ward, upset at being unable to vote for city councillors in this year’s election.

”They really resent not having a say on the whole of council, when the vast bulk of the population do.”

Wait a second. What do they mean that they didn’t get a vote? Is there some law saying that people who live in that area have to pay rates but don’t get a vote? Are the good people of Waikouaiti like the people of DC (who don’t get to vote for Congressional representation)?

Mr Cull was commenting after voters in the Waikouaiti Coast-Chalmers ward were left with no say on who would represent them for the next three years.

Incumbent Cr Andrew Noone was elected unopposed for the ward’s only seat, leaving voters in the ward able only to influence the races for the Dunedin mayoralty and Chalmers Community Board.

That’s totally different. They didn’t get a vote because no one stood. You fix that by having someone stand, not by abolishing wards.

As a result, he was ”really sympathetic” to the idea of one city-wide ward, and expected a proposal for change would be considered by the incoming council.

Such a change would allow all voters to vote for all 14 city councillors, he said.

I think that will lead to inferior decision making by voters. It is hard enough to identify three or four people worth supporting in a ward. Having to select 14 out of say 40 or so candidates will just lead to more people not voting.

I think Councils should go the other way – single Councillor wards. You vote for one Councillor for your local area, just as you vote for one MP. That way you are picking say one person out of three or four (which means you an properly research your choices) that the blind luck of 14 out of 40. or so.

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