Late rally sees turnout hit 48 per cent

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Neil Kirton received the most votes for the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
Neil Kirton received the most votes for the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Voters in Hawke's Bay Local Elections 2016 can give themselves a surprising tick of approval after coming out in greater numbers than they did when the last triennial poll for mayors, councils and health boards took place in 2013.

Voting figures for final declarations in the Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay and Tararua elections, and preliminary figures for Wairoa, show the number of voters in the region increased by about 1700 - despite downward nationwide trends and expectations for most of the three week postal vote that public engagement with the selection of the people to runs their towns and districts was continuing a downward slide.

The turnout throughout the region was about 48 per cent in both the 2013 elections and the polls which finished last Saturday.

Numbers were up in Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay, and Tararua, for which the final declarations were made yesterday, and in Wairoa, where the final declaration isn't expected before Monday.

But they were down over 1200 in Napier.

In all, votes total a provisional 59,427, and would have gone over 60,000 had it not been for the downturn in Napier, which in addition to the mayoralty, claimed unopposed by one-term incumbent Bill Dalton, was also without an election in Onekawa-Tamatea, one of the city's four wards.

The results produced no reversals from preliminary results announced at the weekend, when margins generally sorted out the makeup of the councils, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, and health boards, apart from in Hastings where district council candidates Ann Redstone and Jason Whaitiri sweated over a two-vote majority to Ms Redstone, which was doubled in the final count, in another triumph for female representation on councils throughout the region.

The most popularly supported council candidates in the region were Hawke's Bay Regional Council Napier constituency's Neil Kirton, with 11,425 votes, and Napier City Council at-large candidate Kirsten Wise, with 10,944 votes in being returned for a second term.

The only others to have five-figure support were Napier council newcomer Claire Hague and council senior statesman Tony Jeffery, and regional council Hastings member Rex Graham.

Voting turnout details available by last night and excluding special votes:
Napier: votes 18,803 - turnout 43.85 per cent (2013 votes 20,052, 48 per cent).
Hastings: votes 24,860 - turnout 46.78 per cent (2013 votes 23,175, 45 per cent).
Central Hawke's Bay: votes 5964 - turnout 62.66 per cent (2013 votes 5153, 55 per cent).
Tararua: votes 6449 - turnout 53.47 per cent (2013 votes 6105, 50 per cent).
Wairoa (preliminary): votes 3351 - 62 per cent (2013 votes 3246, 62 per cent).
TOTALS: votes 59,427 - 48.14 per cent (2013 votes 57,731, 48 per cent).

- Hawkes Bay Today

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