Voters' poor response surprises, disappoints
Councils throughout the south look unlikely to hit a 50 per cent voter return in what some are labelling a disappointing election.
Invercargill City Council electoral officer Graham Low said it looked as though less than half the eligible Invercargill voters would have their say.
Yesterday, 44.1 per cent of papers had been returned, compared with 60.5 per cent last year.
It was "disappointing" that one in every two eligible people chose not to vote, he said.
City council chief executive Richard King said it often took a "fiercely competitive" mayoral race to get people voting something the city had last term when Tim Shadbolt faced off against Suzanne Prentice.
Last term's race was a lively affair, but this year things did not seem to be as hotly contested, he said.
However, the low return rate could also indicate that residents were happy with the service they were getting from the council, he said.
But the Invercargill council is not alone in its lack of mail with the Clutha District Council, Gore District Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Central Otago District Council all facing lower voter returns, while the Southland District Council seemed to be the only council bucking the trend.
Central Otago District Council electoral officer Kara Leckie said the council looked like it would scrape above 50 per cent of the voting papers returned but she was surprised the turnout was still that low, with so many candidates standing.
"I certainly would have thought that with all the candidates that we would have a high return."
Queenstown Lakes District Council electoral officer Jane Robertson said the council looked as though it would not hit 50 per cent of papers returned, with only 40 per cent returned yesterday.
She said people's lack of interest in local government elections seemed to be "a trend right around the world".
Despite the race in Balclutha to become mayor, there was no race to tick boxes, with only 47.8 per cent of votes returned.
However, the Southland District Council, the council which all eyes will be on with three candidates running for mayor, including two councillors, has not had a rise in voter turnout with it remaining similar to previous years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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