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One member one vote 2018

There have been changes to the NZNO constitution affecting voting processes on constitutional and policy remits. They come into effect in 2019 ahead of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and were ratified at the NZNO AGM on 19 September 2018.

Before these changes, voting on constitutional and policy remits at the AGM was done by delegates/representatives from the following NZNO groups: Regional Councils; Colleges and Sections; the National Student Unit; Te Rūnanga; the Membership Committee; and Te Poari. Individual financial members of NZNO not involved in any of these groups did not have the right to vote.

Changes around voting

A new Clause 29 has been added to the Constitution which states that each financial member will now be entitled to one vote. Voting will take place online (or by postal ballot where necessary). Results of voting will be announced at the AGM, but voting will no longer be done by delegates/representatives alone at the AGM.

The affected clauses are:

  • Clause 25.3.3 – The business of the AGM shall be to: receive the outcome of member decisions to policy and constitutional remits
  • Clause 29 – Voting for constitutional and policy remits (new)
  • Clause 29 – Voting at AGM (now Clause 30)
  • Clause 30 – Alterations to constitution and policy remits (now Clause 31).

The original Clause 29 has become Clause 30. Clause 30 has become Clause 31 and so on.

Why the change?

The ‘one member one vote’ system is to reduce variable member consultation. For example, one delegate/representative could have several votes counted depending on the number of groups they belong to, with many members not being consulted prior to voting or having input into decision-making. Also, larger Regional Councils representing more members had a stronger voting power compared to those from smaller regions, yet voting decisions at the AGM were made by a handful of delegates/representatives.

The new system enhances NZNO’s democratic process by allowing every financial member to have the right to vote. It is also hoped the new process will make voting more visible to the wider membership and encourage greater engagement and involvement.

This has been a matter of concern to NZNO for some time and the changes result from a working group that has consulted widely to develop a ‘one member one vote’ strategy. At the 2016 AGM the intention was signalled to propose changes to the Constitution to bring this into effect in 2019 if changing to ‘one member one vote’ was endorsed at the 2018 AGM.

Summary: important points to note

  • Voting on constitutional changes and policy remits will now take place by ballot via electronic or postal voting before the AGM, rather than at the AGM. Results of member voting will be announced at the AGM.
  • This means debates over remits will no longer occur at the AGM. Instead, it will be the role of delegates and representatives to discuss issues with their constituency base in an advocacy role as remits are developed. This will play an important role in member engagement, participation and decision-making.
  • Member votes cannot be changed once they are cast.
  • The timelines (see draft 2019 timeline below) around remits will not change. Remits will still open six months before the AGM.
  • The process for submitting remits has not changed.
  • The role of the Remit Committee includes identifying constitutional remits which affect Te Rūnanga and/or checking their consistency with Ngā Ture. Such remits will be presented for endorsement at Hui ā-Tau before being presented to the AGM. In practical terms this means before being voted on by financial members through the ‘one member one vote’ system.

The importance of members/groups consulting when developing remits

Because there will no longer be opportunity to discuss and amend remits at the AGM, it will be important to share remits in development (e.g. with other regions, Colleges and Sections, Te Poari, the National Student Unit) so they are well-understood and better agreed-to before they come to the Remit Committee. As mentioned above, delegates and representatives should be essential to this.

During its considerations, the Remit Committee may ask members or groups with similar remits to consult together and consolidate them. 

Remit process draft timeline 2019

14 March
(not less than six months before AGM)

Remits open – notice of AGM sent to members

10 May (four months before AGM)

Remits close

13-31 May

Remits prepared by the Remit Committee

Remits sent to Te Poari for its special Hui ā-Tau (AGM) review process

19 July
(not less than two months before AGM)

AGM agenda and remits issued to all members

7 August
(not less than six weeks before AGM)

Voting on remits opens

13 September

Voting on remits closes 12 Noon

18 September


Finding out more

Updates and further information will be added to this page as they occur.