Time running out as local voting off to slow start

By Mike Dinsdale

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Time is running out for Northlanders to have their say in the elections. Photo / Thinkstock
Time is running out for Northlanders to have their say in the elections. Photo / Thinkstock

Votes are slowly trickling in for Northland's local body elections, with less than 20 per cent of voting papers returned 11 days out from the big decision.

Returns from the Kaipara are particularly low.

About 106,000 voting forms were sent out in Northland for elections for the Whangarei and Far North District and Northland Regional councils and the Northland District Health Board.

Kaipara District Council has government-appointed commissioners in place, so Kaipara residents will not be voting for their district council this election but can still vote for the NDHB and NRC. Participation in local body elections is traditionally low and in the 2010 elections only 49.7 per cent of electors cast their votes in Whangarei, 46.9 per cent in the Far North and 53.5 per cent in Kaipara.

As of 5pm on Tuesday, the latest available figures showed 9734 of the eligible 55,079 Whangarei district voters had returned their forms - 17.67 per cent of possible votes and down on the 23.7 per cent of returns received at the same stage in the 2010 local body elections.

In the Far North, 8439 of the 37,450 registered voters had returned their forms - 22.53 per cent and again, down on the 24.9 per cent who had returned their votes by the same stage in 2010.

So far only 1970 of Kaipara's 13,340 registered voters have returned their forms - a paltry 14.77 per cent and almost half of the 27.4 per cent who had cast their votes by the same stage last election.

Time is running out for Northlanders to have their say in the elections, with voting needing to be received by noon on October 12. But in order for people to get their votes in time they must post them by Wednesday, October 9, or they can drop them off at council service centres. Anyone who has not already received their voting pack should contact their local district council office as soon as possible and request a special vote or call Election Services direct on 0800 922 822.

Preliminary results from the elections should be through by the evening of October 12, with the official declaration of election results due by the middle of the following week.

- Northern Advocate

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