Less than 13% of Aucklanders have voted so far in the local body elections; below the figures in Wellington and Christchurch

Less than 13% of Aucklanders have voted so far in the local body elections; below the figures in Wellington and Christchurch

An extremely low Auckland voter turnout so far in the local body elections is causing concern.

Just 125,000 votes - less than 13% of the electorate - have been cast in the Auckland region. There are only six days left for people to post their votes.

At the same stage in 2010, nearly twice as many votes were already in, with turnout undoubtedly given a boost by it being the first election for the newly formed Super City.

A news release from the Auckland Council said that while the national trend for participation in local elections had been dwindling steadily, down from 55% in 1998 to 44% in 2007, Aucklanders managed to reverse the trend in 2010.

A high level of participation in the first Super City elections lifted the national average to 49%.

"This time, it looks as if Aucklanders may be dragging the average down, as we’re lagging well behind Wellington and Christchurch at the moment," says electoral officer Bruce Thomas said.

Currently, voting returns in Wellington are sitting at 13.52% and in Christchurch, 18.43%.

"...Over 87% of our voters have not yet taken the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to choose Auckland’s leaders - that’s disappointing,"  Thomas said.

The ballots officially close at noon on October 12, though votes have to be posted three days before that.

"This weekend, open that envelope, choose your representatives and post off your vote," Thomas urged.

For more information people can visit the Vote Auckland website at www.voteauckland.co.nz, while daily voting return figures are available at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/elections.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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The little information provided from the election booklet about all candidates is somehow discouraging responsible voters from voting, as no one can make a rational choice based on the poor information.

Agreed - who are these people, bored power hungry nobodies with apparently no policies bigger than mowing the berms we pay rates for them to mow anyway?

How many billboards do you see with some variation on 'vote for change' And that is usually the extent of it.