A scrutineer at the last elections says she was horrified to see quite a few voting papers (obviously in spidery elderly writing!) where the voter had tried to fill in all the numbers, because the voting papers don’t tell you you don’t have to vote for the full number of available seats.  The “second preference” votes can knock the best candidate out, even if they win the “first preference” round of counting.  “This is nothing short of disastrous and helps explain why so much deadwood has continued in our system.”

“The message is very simple: [in a single member seat, like the Mayor or Waikanae Ward Councilor] just vote for the candidate you want, i.e. write numeral 1 beside that candidate.  If you have a genuine second preference, put down a number 2.  But if you really don’t think any of the others are up to the job, don’t write any other numbers.”