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Resource material › STV Information › More about FPP

Under the FPP (First Past the Post) electoral system, the candidate with the most votes wins. This is a very simple method of electing candidates and is widely used throughout the world. It was used in New Zealand for Parliamentary elections up until the introduction of MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) in the 1996 general election.

Although FPP is very simple, some people have argued that the results of an FPP election may not always reflect the wishes of the majority of voters. The following examples show how results of FPP elections may vary.

Where one candidate has a clear majority of votes, it can be seen that the majority of people did support the winning candidate.

Number of VotesPercentage of Votes
Candidate One14070%
Candidate Two2010%
Candidate Three2010%
Candidate Four2010%
Total Votes = 200Total = 100%

In this example, the winning candidate received 70% of the total votes

However, the winning candidate might receive more votes than any other one candidate, but receive fewer votes than the other candidates put together.

Number of VotesPercentage of Votes
Candidate One8040%
Candidate Two6030%
Candidate Three4020%
Candidate Four2010%
Total Votes = 200Total = 100%

In this case, the winning candidate got 40 per cent of the total votes, the other candidates received 60 percent of votes. It could be said that the election result did not reflect the wishes of the majority.

Some people have also argued that even when the winning candidate gets the majority of the votes, many people’s votes are "wasted".