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Council voter engagement on the rise

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/10/2016

An increase in city voters has made up for the disengagement of rural voters to give this year's council elections a slightly higher turnout than last time.

Local Government New Zealand says preliminary figures show a national voter turnout of 41.8 per cent, a narrow increase over 2013's turnout of 41.3 per cent.

The small rise is largely driven by an increase in voters in Auckland and Wellington, it says.

But despite a drop in country voters, those in rural areas were still more likely to vote, recording a 48 per cent turnout.

"On a positive note after many years of steady decline in voter turnout that appears to have been arrested," LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said.

He said there was no silver bullet but it was clear continued engagement in local government, both generally and around elections, was needed down the track.

"Engaging young people and minority groups is a challenge we are facing. We live in a digital world and for young people especially we need to be able to offer this as an option," he said.

"Online voting won't be a panacea to lifting civic engagement but it needs to be one of the tools in the kit."


* National voter turnout - 41.8 per cent

* Highest voter turnout - Chatham Islands, 70.9 per cent

* Biggest upwards voter move - Gore 59.8 per cent, up 18.5 per cent

* Auckland turnout up 3.4 per cent

* Wellington turnout up 4.1 per cent

* Lower turnout - Matamata-Piako 24.1 per cent, down 21.7 per cent.

(Source: Local Government New Zealand.)

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