Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Push to get people to vote

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FILE
FILE

There's just one week before the polls close for Rotorua's local government elections and voter numbers remain down on previous elections.

Local Government New Zealand, with support from the Rotorua Lakes Council, is calling on people who haven't voted to make today "Vote Day" in an effort to push voter numbers up to at least 50 per cent.

As at 7pm Thursday, 9592 of Rotorua's 46,215 eligible voters, or 20.76 per cent, had voted in the local government elections for the Rotorua Lakes Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Lakes District Health Board.

This figure is down from 24.42 per cent at the same time during the 2013 elections and 23.52 per cent in 2010.

Deputy electoral officer for Rotorua Rick Dunn said the trend in Rotorua with regard to voting paper returns was similar to what was happening around the country.

"Given what appears to be a higher than normal level of local interest in council and the elections - going on media coverage and social media engagement on election-related matters - we still anticipate a better voter turnout this year than in 2013," he said.

"People appear to be more aware of and interested in council matters in Rotorua and we hope this will translate to more taking the opportunity to have a say about who represents them by voting.

"We also anticipate a greater turnout of Maori voters as a result of the higher profile of council prompted by the Te Arawa partnership, the higher number of Maori candidates standing for council and given Te Arawa has endorsed several of those candidates."

He said the main reasons people gave for not voting were that they forgot or were too busy, so there had been a concerted effort to keep the election front of mind.

"We have undertaken a variety of advertising to increase awareness and encourage people to enrol and vote and we have also used our own online and social media channels."

The last day to post your papers is this Wednesday. Otherwise you can drop them off at the Rotorua Lakes Council offices before midday next Saturday.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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