News, Events and Culture

Cabinet decision does not surprise

Tuesday April 19 2016

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says he isn’t surprised cabinet has decided the online voting trial for local authorities won’t proceed.

Palmerston North was one of eight councils that expressed interest in participating in the trial for the election on 8 October.

“I was concerned from the outset about the government’s commitment to the trial because it didn’t put any money towards it. The funding had to come from the participants themselves,” Mayor Smith says.

Palmerston North City Council had earmarked $100,000 towards the cost of the trial.

 “We were working closely with Whanganui District Council and our electoral service provider, Independent Election Services to make online voting a reality while still giving residents the choice of casting a postal vote.”

“Although the future of the trial has been in some doubt over recent weeks, there was still the possibility of it gaining cabinet approval. Now a decision has been made for it not to proceed this year so we have to look to the future.”

“While I’m sure we would have been ready for online voting in October, I think a longer lead-in could be of benefit.  That would give us more time to engage and educate voters about how online voting would work.”

“Palmerston North is doing a great deal in the digital space. We have established a Digital Leaders Forum, we have a raft of other digital programmes and we’re seeking the expansion of ultrafast broadband in the City.”  

“Let’s face it; people in the community are expecting online voting to happen. I’m sure Palmerston North City Council would be happy to consider participating in online voting for the 2019 local authority elections and beyond.”