26 September 2016
A record low voter turnout is on the cards for the New Plymouth District Council elections unless the early trend changes significantly.
The first five days since counting began on 19 September have resulted in just 6.69 per cent of voting papers being returned, about half the amount of votes at the same time of the 2013 election.
"2013 had a low voter turnout - just 51.11 per cent of eligible voters overall - but this election is looking to set a new low unless people get their votes in," says Goup Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts.
"Where I worked previously in Australia, voting turnout for local Council elections was above 70 per cent.
"Local government, way more than central government, plays such an important role in people's everyday lives, directly influencing the liveability and sustainable of communities, so it is surprising for me to see such poor turnout numbers in New Plymouth so far.
"We've also got some vital work coming in the next three years, including the review of the District Plan and writing the 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan. Who do you want to represent you at the Council table and on community boards when the future of our district is being mapped out?"
Mr Hodgetts reminds people that the voting papers come with a booklet of information on all the candidates. "Vote for your preferred representatives and send your voting papers in as soon as you can, to make sure you don't miss the voting deadline."
Voting closes at noon on Saturday 8 October. If you are posting your votes in, have them in the mail by Tuesday 4 October to ensure they are received on time.
Voting papers can also be dropped off at the Civic Centre on Liardet Street, New Plymouth and at the Waitara, Bell Block and Inglewood library and service centres.
- 2013 election: 12.63 per cent return after five days; 51.11 per cent total vote.
- 2010 election: 16.33 per cent; 57.70 per cent.
- 2007 election: 12.77 per cent; 50.85 per cent.
- 2004 election: 16.66 per cent; 55.13 per cent.