Less than 40 per cent of the nation's eligible voters had a say in this year's local body elections, prompting Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga to suggest "new initiatives" - including online voting - could be looked at to combat apathy.

Based on preliminary results, overall voter turnout in today's election was just 39.5 per cent - down 1.8 per cent on the last election.

The 2010 turnout was out 49 per cent.

While the Wellington the turnout was up slightly from 41.6 per cent in 2013 to 42.1 per cent today, numbers were down in Christchurch (dropping from 42.9 per cent to 37.2 per cent).

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In Auckland, turnout rose only marginally from 35 per cent in 2013 to 35.18 per cent.

"Overall voter turnout is slightly lower than in 2013," Lotu-Iiga said.

"The Government is open to looking at new initiatives to assist local government as it works to promote better turnout."

This included online voting, he said, but more work needed to be done to address concerns around security and vote integrity before a trial could take place.

"It is also important to note that international evidence suggests online voting has not led to a significant increased turnout in areas where it has been introduced."

Lotu-Iiga thanked those who did vote and congratulated those elected to seats.

"I look forward to building a good working relationship with mayors, councillors and board members elected today to deliver better value local services for ratepayers."