'Coin toss' election victories should end, Local Government Minister says

Tight elections might not have to be decided on the flip of a coin under new changes considered by the Government.

Nanaia Mahuta Source: Breakfast

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta is mulling the possibility of changes to the local electoral legislation before the 2022 local body elections.

In the October elections, a tie in the Murupara-Galatea ward was resolved by a special lot draw after candidates Hinerangi Goodman and Alison Silcock both won 262 votes each.

Ms Mahuta says it was a difficult situation for everyone involved, putting strain on the council and community relationship.

"My proposal is that if there is a tied result, there should automatically be a recount. This is what occurs for parliamentary elections," she said in a statement this morning.

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Local Government New Zealand says the use of the unorthodox method twice in the same election is unusual. Source: 1 NEWS

"This change would mean that any coin toss would only take place if the District Court confirmed that the result is a tie.

"I will also consider whether an automatic recount should be triggered for elections where the winning margin is very small."

An inquiry into the 2016 local elections and 2017 general elections is underway by the Justice Select Committee.

After its recommendations have been tabled in Parliament, Ms Mahuta says she'll consider whether any other changes should also be considered as a priority for the 2022 local body elections.

"The proposed changes will provide everyone with a lot more certainty and avoid the distress when a candidate sworn in as an elected member finds their position revoked through no fault of their own."