Chch voter turnout higher than other cities
RACHEL YOUNG AND LOIS CAIRNS
Have you voted in the local elections yet?
Local Elections 2013
Despite its flagging voter turnout, Christchurch is ahead of the other major cities but still trails smaller regions.
Just 24.22 per cent of eligible voters had sent in their vote by the weekend just gone - below the 26.94 per cent who had returned their votes at the same point the 2010 elections.
Voter turnout in Christchurch is higher than several other major cities, including Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton.
In Wellington, just 18.66 per cent of eligible voters had returned their ballot papers by the end of last week.
Dunedin voter turnout is similar to Wellington, with 18.65 per cent of ballot papers returned by the end of last week, while in Auckland voting ballots have been trickling in at half the return rate as the last election.
Several smaller councils have been enjoying higher voter turnout.
Mackenzie had 43.29 per cent by the end of last week, Waimate had 35.5 per cent, Timaru had 33.79 per cent and Marlborough had 31.15 per cent.
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) president Lawrence Yule said those in smaller communities voted as they often knew the candidates personally and saw how their decisions affected them.
Nationally, voter turnout was about 2 per cent lower than at the same point during the last local body elections. Yule hoped there would be more than 50 per cent voter turnout, but expected it to be realistically around 40 per cent nationally.
LGNZ chief executive Malcolm Alexander urged people to take five minutes to read about the candidates and return their voting papers.
"Elected representatives oversee a huge range of services, worth millions of dollars, which affect you and your family daily - from the pavements you walk on, to the roads you drive on and the recreation grounds where you cheer on your kids," he said.
Electionz.com processes votes for 39 of the 67 council's in the country at centres in Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch, employing about 30, 10 and 35 staff respectively.
Electionz.com chief electoral officer Warwick Lampp said the voting papers were opened and scanned in the morning then processed electronically, which could take just the morning, all day or even longer depending on the numbers.
Preliminary results for the election of the mayor, councillors and community board members will be declared on Saturday.
Votes can be processed until noon on Saturday and those voting via post are encouraged to send them by Wednesday.
- © Fairfax NZ News