The voters have spoken: 40 per cent had their say in the Western Bay - the highest turnout since 2010 but one electoral officer is calling for a national campaign to boost numbers.
Less than half of the population had their say and at 7.34 am today , Tauranga City Council's returns were at 40.3 per cent - a four-point bump from Friday representing about 4000 more votes.
It equates to 38,219 voters from a pool of 94,873 potential electors.The turnout beats 2013 voter turnout of 37.9 per cent, and 2016's 38.1 per cent, but not 2010's result of 43.6 per cent.
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The turnout beats 2013 voter turnout of 37.9 per cent, and 2016's 38.1 per cent, but not 2010's results of 43.6 per cent.
According to Local Government New Zealand, the average turnout in territorial authorities was 48.3 per cent with the Chatham Island Council the top performer on 68.8 per cent.
Warwick Lampp, electoral officer for Tauranga and Rotorua, said it was a "pretty strong result" but earlier in the election race he told the Bay of Plenty Times the country was trending towards an "all-time low" turnout.
"The takeaway is the hand-delivered and special votes was massive."
Improvements could be made he said, but was not convinced online voting was the silver bullet for participation.
"Candidates do have to take some responsibility for turnout. If they engage with voters in a different way, rather than just putting up a billboard, it would all help in participation."
Close to 2000 people cast their vote for the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on Saturday which brought the voter turnout to 38.83 per cent.
It surpassed the 2010 turnout of 37.0 per cent, the 2013 turnout of 37.8 per cent and the 2016 election turnout of 38.8 per cent.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said, although the turnout was up, it was a disappointing result.
"You can double that for parliamentary elections yet local council impact on people just as much.
"I think how we could do it better is a national campaign on the relevance of local government and therefore bring awareness to people prior to the election."
Ofsoske believed it was important to investigate and implement methods to raise voter engagement but was not sure voting online was the answer either.
"Whether online voting will increase the number of voters I am not sure because it hasn't overseas, it often just transfers current voters from paper to the internet."
However, he did want to engage with younger voters and did not believe paper voting was the best way to do that.
Voting per cent by area
Mount Maunganui - Pāpāmoa:
37.49 per cent
Otumoetai - Pyes Pa:
45.09 per cent
Welcome Bay - Te Papa:
38.08 per cent
Maketu - Te Puke:
35.1 per cent
Katikati - Waihi Beach:
43.2 per cent
38.2 per cent