Do we need DHB elections?

Voting papers arrived on Saturday and much as I value the right to vote I can’t muster much enthusiasm for this process.

I don’t like postal voting. It drags the process out for too long and makes it too easy for someone to vote for someone else.

I don’t have a vote for the regional council because the only candidate in our ward, Doug Brown, was elected unopposed.

There’s a choice of seven people standing for mayor.

If the grapevine and an Oamaru Mail poll are to be believed only two of them are in the race, Jim Hopkins and Gary Kircher.

We get to vote for two candidates in the Corriedale ward and have seven to choose from. I’m pretty certain which two I’ll choose but won’t fill out my form until after tonight’s meet-the-candidates forum just in case.

Then there’s the Otago DHB.

The council elections are all First Past the Post but the DHB is STV and last time, if I remember correctly, I ranked only two.

Thirteen people are standing for four places this time and I don’t know enough about any of them to make an informed decision on ranking even that few.

I could ring a couple of people whose opinions I respect and who are likely to give me a good steer but I suspect I won’t get round to it and will leave that paper blank.

We sued to have wards but now four are elected from Otago and three from Southland which means candidates from Dunedin and Invercargill are most likely to get greater support than anyone from outside the cities.

Regardless of how we vote, I really wonder if electing board members is necessary.

Each board has seven elected members and up to four are appointed by the government to fill in any gaps in expertise.

Would the boards be any worse if all of the members were appointed?

I’ve never ranked all the candidates but quite a few do and it would be safe to bet many do so with insufficient knowledge of the candidates and at least some in the mistaken belief they have to rank them all.

In a past election, if memory serve me right, someone got on the board because of the 19th preferences.

That doesn’t strike me as a strong endorsement.

Someone who went through a rigorous appointment process would give me more confidence than someone who clambered aboard on through 19th preferences.

2 Responses to Do we need DHB elections?

  1. Gravedodger says:

    There is a serious disconnect in DHB elections in that a candidate from a remote region will never gain sufficient support of their home base even if everyone in their catchment votes for them unless they only vote for that one candidate as the other whatever candidates ranked 2 3 4 5 whatever, will gain additional support from the whole electorate to come through.

    It is all about name recognition.

    The current system just gets a bunch of serial troughers onto another income stream with no accountability, influence or representation of a group seeking such representation
    The board is just an amorphous group of powerless nobodies under the direction of the central government appointed brokers.

    It is just a sop to democracy and its demise would change so little it would not be missed or even noticed.

    Only a ward system would create a representative that a voter could relate to when the dust settles.


  2. Richard says:

    No need for DHB elections. Funding is from central government so elected reps have little power to make changes.
    One reform about potential elected candidates across all local body is a rigorous selection process -as suggested.

    And a huge reduction in remuneration

    Whaleoil has a campaign on dodgy candidates. He highlights the former CEO of the DCC Murray Douglas

    Douglas was caught with his pants when CEO of the DCC Moving to Aus he was not a great hit there as CEO

    How nice it is that through Google one can trace charlatans


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