John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Online voting needed to reverse voting trends in Tauranga

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Voter apathy has prompted more calls for online voting. Photo/file
Voter apathy has prompted more calls for online voting. Photo/file

Voter apathy has prompted more calls for online voting after Tauranga recorded a static 38 per cent return - nearly the same as the 2013 election.

Outgoing mayor Stuart Crosby was worried by the trend that followed voting returns of nearly 44 per cent in 2010 and 46 per cent in the 2007 election.

"I think we need to go online to vote, it would increase voter turnout.''

Mr Crosby said there were supposed to be online voting trials at this election, but it was pulled at the last minute.

"They still have an issue around security - but it's actually more secure to vote online. I do not accept security as an issue - it's just an excuse not to do it," he said.

Mr Crosby said there were more options for information if voting was taken online, for example candidates could provide little videos of what they stood for.

"I hope the electoral commission will actually move forward with this."

Unsuccessful council candidate Murray Guy also advocated for online voting to reverse the trend of dropping levels of voter participation.

Mr Guy said he viewed the trend as part of a bigger picture of the proliferation of council-controlled organisations that operated at arms-length to the council and the ''secret squirrel'' briefings.

Another unsuccessful candidate, Tony Christiansen, said it was sad so few people were voting. ''It is a sad indication of the way we think about our city.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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