Voters deciding who will handle their shares in a $2 billion electricity asset need to get their votes in the post today to be sure they will be counted when the ballot closes on Friday.

Two tickets and two independents are contesting the election for the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust, which owns 75 per cent of powerlines company Vector on behalf of 300,000 shareholders. One of the few roles of the trust is to distribute the annual $320 dividend.

Criticism has been levelled at the trust - dominated by the right-leaning Communities and Residents ticket - for paying voters their dividend so close to the election.

The trust went to the High Court in 2010 and won the right to pay the dividend at any stage of the financial year. This year it was paid on September 26, and voting papers were mailed on October 10.


Trust chairman William Cairns blamed the early payment on the trust deed. When the High Court action was pointed out to him, he said it was a "technical issue".

The left-leaning Your Power Team and two independents - former policeman and MP Ross Meurant and former Auckland City councillor Doug Armstrong - are challenging the C&R ticket.

By yesterday, 14.06 per cent of votes were in, slightly up on the 12.25 per cent figure at the same time in 2009. Last election just 16.47 per cent of shareholders voted.