How to vote using STV   How candidates are elected    How votes are counted

STV legislation, background and further information

Read the legislation relevant to the introduction of STV for local authority elections in New Zealand, get a brief background to STV or get further information.



Until 2004, local authority elections were conducted using the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system.

STV was used by:

  • ten councils for the 2004 local authority elections
  • eight councils for the 2007 local authority elections
  • six councils for the 2010 local authority elections
  • seven councils for the 2013 local authority elections; and
  • eight councils for the 2016 local authority elections.

Eleven councils will be using STV in the October 2019 elections
(see list of local authorities using STV in 2019 elections).

STV was also used for elections to the Christchurch City Council in 1917, 1929, 1931 and 1933, and for Woolston Borough Council in 1917 and 1919.

In the private sector, Fonterra use STV for their Board of Directors and Shareholders' Council elections. DairyNZ's Board of Directors and the Victoria University's Court of Convocation also use STV

Overseas, STV has been around since the 1850s.

STV elections are currently held in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta and parts of Australia and the United States of America.

Further information

The following guide was prepared to assist councils to make decisions on the choice of electoral system for the 2010 elections: The Local Government Electoral Option 2008 (.pdf) 182k

An earlier resource was prepared prior to the first STV election in 2004: Choosing Electoral Systems in Local Government in New Zealand (.pdf) 365k

Both of these documents provide further information on how the STV electoral system operates in New Zealand.