Electoral systems

Wellington City Council uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system to elect its Mayor, Councillors and community board members.

The Council has used this system since 2004 when it first became an option for local authorities.

In August 2014 the Council agreed to retain STV for the 2016 council election.

2008 Referendum

A poll of electors in September 2008 determined that the STV electoral system would continue to be used to elect members of the Wellington City Council until at least the 2013 elections.

2008 Electoral System Poll Results

Where STV is used

The STV system is compulsory for all district health board elections. In New Zealand, only eight local authorities use the STV system for electing their mayor and councillors.

Before the 2004 local authority elections, Wellington City Council (and all other local authorities) used the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system. The majority of local authorities throughout the country still use the FPP system.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council is also the only regional council to use STV and will use it for the first time for the 2013 election.

How STV works

STV is a proportional electoral system where electors rank candidates in order of preference. Electors have a single vote (regardless of the number of vacancies) and they have to cast that vote by ranking, in their order of preference, as few or as many of the candidates as they wish.

You can learn more about the STV system, and watch a demonstration of how it works at:


Electors vote by indicating their preferred candidate(s) up to the maximum number of vacancies, and the candidate(s) that receives the most votes is declared the winner, regardless of the proportion of votes that candidate(s) received.

More About FPP - Department of Internal Affairs

Online voting

We were 1 of the 9 councils tha agreed to take part in an online voting trial in 2019. Although the working party had selected a provider that satisfied all of the security and delivery requirements, the cost burden for councils forced a unanimous decision to not proceed with online voting for 2019. 

The working party will continue to work collaboratively with central government, wider local government sector & other stakeholders to deliver online voting for the 2022 local body elections.