Voting dips at start of councils' poll

By Doug Laing

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LOCAL ELECTIONS: Have you voted yet? PHOTO/FILE
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Have you voted yet? PHOTO/FILE

Napier and Hastings voters were proving to be a little slow of the mark, based on polling figures at the end of the first week since voting papers were distributed.

In a possible pointer to a lower eventual vote in Napier, where there is no mayoral contest, declarations on Friday showed the vote to be down about one-fifth on the vote at the same stage of the 2013 election.

The 3865 votes cast in the city council election represented 9.01 per cent of those on the roll, which compared with an 11.09 per cent vote at the end of the first week in the 2013 poll, when five men and one woman shaped up in a contest for a new Mayor, which was won by Bill Dalton, who goes into a second term unopposed.

In the Hastings District, where incumbent Mayor Lawrence Yule is being challenged by Guy Wellwood and Adrienne Pierce, 5519 votes had returned their papers, representing 10.39 per cent of those on the roll, compared with 11.74 per cent at the end of the first week of the poll three years ago.

Voting in the Tararua District, where Allan Benbow, Ernie Christison, Tracey Collis, Shirley Hull and Kay McKenzie seek the mayoralty vacated by Roly Ellis, voting was also down, the 1929 votes representing 16 per cent of the roll, compared with 17.58 per cent having voted at the same stage in 2013.

But polling was up in Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa, which each have three-way contests for the mayoralty.

In Central Hawke's Bay, where Sally Butler, Gerard Pain and Alex Walker are contesting the mayoralty vacated by Peter Butler, the 1800 votes represented 18.91 per cent, compared with 18.78 per cent after the first week of voting in 2013, while in Wairoa, where first-term Mayor Craig Little is challenged by Benita Cairns and Roland Matley, 950 votes had been received by Friday, representing 17.3 per cent of the roll, compared with 14 per cent at the same stage in 2013.

Papers were sent to more than 120,000 people on rolls throughout the Hawke's Bay Regional Council area and the Tararua District Council, comprising five of the 67 local authorities in the triennial Local Elections.

Voting closes at midday on October 8, but voting by post should be done no later than the Wednesday immediately beforehand, after which papers will need to be delivered directly to polling places.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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