A sitting councillor contesting the upcoming election for Tweed Shire Council says she won’t be involved in any preference swaps and challenged other candidates to do the same.
Preferences in a tight election tend to determine the final positions for the seven-member council, and the Tweed has a history of candidates elected after a flow of preferences pushed them over the line with a sufficient quota.
But Cr Dot Holdom’s move not to allocate preferences on her how-to-vote card is not expected to be taken up by the 59 other candidates who have nominated for the 8 September poll.
Candidates contacted by Echonetdaily yesterday were tight lipped on whether they would also ban preference swaps, which involve secret deals and horsetrading between candidates.
The usual response was they were ‘undecided’ on the issue, but the horsetrading behind closed doors has been frenetic, according to some.
One first-time candidate, who didn’t want to go on record, said the move was a ‘headline grab’ by Cr Holdom and that many candidates ‘wouldn’t have a chance in hell’ if they did not swap preferences with others.
Cr Holdom, who heads Group J, said preferences were ‘a matter for the people to decide in the privacy of the ballot box, not by politicians, or aspiring politicians, doing deals with each other’.
She said other candidates ‘might consider doing likewise’. Of the 59 candidates, 55 have formed 12 groups for the above-the-line spot on the ballot paper, while only four are running ungrouped.
Cr Holdom said votes for her would ‘stick’ with her and not be passed on to other groups, political parties or ungrouped candidates.
‘It may well end up costing me votes when they start distributing preferences during the count, but I’m going to have to live with that.’