The course delivered many positive outcomes, including the sharing of many experiences about how election processes are conducted – the similarities and differences were often stark. One anecdote from the Cook Islands was as amusing as it was frustrating for those involved (such as the one sharing the story).The election law states that all polling stations must be staffed all day during polling hours, despite the fact that some polling stations in remote islands service only a small handful of people. So often all registered voters on that island have voted ten minutes after the polling booth opens but the staff need to wait there all day. Similarities were also often depressing such as the extent to which many shared frustration with outdated electoral law and a reluctance from politicians to prioritise reform.
Helena Catt, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Electoral Commission, a strong supporter of BRIDGE as evidenced at PIANZEA meetings, was finally able to participate at this course, and hopes there will be more BRIDGE in New Zealand. She joined other participants in pushing the idea for more joint workshops and activity amongst a Polynesian ‘hub’. Many of the Pacific Islanders also expressed the hope that BRIDGE would make it to their small nations either as in-country courses, or has host to joint sessions.