Today the NZPFU held a Special Conference by telephone conference due to the unprecedented restrictions of the Government imposed Covid-19 lockdown.  

The  Special Conference was called to consider and vote on a National Council/National Committee proposal to conduct the 2020 Branch elections as a national election trial.

  • The elections for the Northern, Central and Southern Branch Officials (Branch President, Branch Secretary and Branch Vice President) are scheduled to be held this year. 
  • Currently New Zealand is under the unprecedented restrictions and there is uncertainty as to when all restrictions will be lifted.  In addition, members workplaces are being limited to specified groups (bubbles) to reduce unnecessary contact with others.  
  • These restrictions impact on the NZPFU’s ability to conduct the Branch elections in the usual manner. 
  • The National Council supported by the Committee proposed to the Conference that the Branch elections be held by electronic voting using the secure electronic voting process trialled in the Auckland Local Committee election last year but with electronic voting primarily through the member’s personal email addresses.
  • The Auckland Local trial was successful with a high return of votes and widespread strong support for the electronic process.
  • It would be beneficial for all NZPFU members to have first-hand experience electronic voting.

The Conference voted unanimously to conduct the 2020 Branch elections by electronic voting as a national trial.

Last year the Auckland Local Committee elections were held as an electronic trial.  The NZPFU conference had determined a number of times that electronic voting should be trialled, and the 2018 Conference in Christchurch determined the Wellington Local should conduct the trial.   However, as the Wellington Local Official and Committee positions were elected unopposed, the Locals were notified and it was determined that the trial would be conducted for the Auckland Local Committee elections. Those elections were successful with a reputable electronic system sourced, that ensured a secure secret ballot with 89% of those eligible voting.  There was also strong positive feedback from the Auckland Local membership.  A full report on the process, outcomes, issues and recommendations resulting from the Auckland Local election trial was provided to the 2019 Conference in Invercargill. A copy of that report and a FAQ is available for download.

The National trial will be conducted using the same format as the Auckland Local trial but instead of work email addresses the voting will be via members’ personal email addresses.  If a member has not or does not provide the NZPFU a personal email address, the voting procedure will be sent to their FENZ email address. The security of the email and vote is the same whether through a personal email address of FENZ address.  FENZ cannot see how the member voted.  The electronic link only allows for the member to vote once.

A report on the national trial will be provided post the election including analysis in the following areas:

a) Engagement measured by:

  • Percentage of members who provided their personal email addresses
  • Percentage of members who voted via personal email addresses
  • Percentage of members who voted via FENZ email addresses
  • Total percentage of those voted measured against the total eligible to vote
  • Collection and analysis of comments provided by members participating in election (electronic vote process to include ability to provide feedback)

b) Efficiency measured by:

  • Costs of electronic voting programme compared to costs of conducting usual manual process (including courier etc)  
  • Time incurred of returning officer, webmaster, office staff, Locals and others compared to estimate of time incurred of returning officer, office staff, Locals and others in conducting usual manual process

c) Security and confidentiality measured by:

  • Comparison of security measures between electronic and usual manual process
  • Comparison of challenges and complaints between electronic and  manual process

The timeline and calling for nominations will occur in the usual manner.  The difference will only be in the manner of voting.  Instead of physically voting on a ballot sheet at a station, the members will be sent an email with a secure link that will enable the member to only vote once.  The details of the electronic process will be provided prior to the vote, with the vote and during the voting period.

Notices calling for nominations for the Northern, Central and Southern Branch Presidents, Vice Presidents and Secretaries and the nomination forms will be sent out next week.

Any queries please contact your Local, Branch or National representative.   

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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