Late coming voters have helped curb a worrying trend in Hawke's Bay polling figures in which those who voted over the last three weeks still totalled more than at the last Local Elections in 2013.
Provisional figures available last night indicated voting across the the one city council and four district council elections from Wairoa to Tararua was close to the 48 per cent achieved three years ago. In most areas more than 40 per cent of votes were lodged in the last five days.
The number of voters who've exercised their right to vote is up in Wairoa, Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay and Tararua, but in Napier the preliminary count is 1252 down on the vote in the last triennial election.
But no area came close to the figures achieved in the Hawke's Bay reorganisation vote 13 months ago when voters rejected a merger of the the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the four councils in its boundaries - at least 15,000 Napier and Hastings voters who took part in the amalgamation decider did not vote in Local Elections 2016.
That vote attracted over 59,500 votes in the twin cities alone, more than the provisional figure of 59,420 who voted across all the councils this year, representing about 48 per cent of the provisional combined roll of 123,448.
Of the two biggest metropolitan areas, there was a 43.85 per cent turnout across Napier, which had a provisional roll of 42,876, while across the Hastings-Havelock North and Flaxmere wards of the Hastings District Council, the 16,243 votes represented 43.58 per cent of a roll of 37,268.
Across the wards in the Napier City Council elections, turnouts ranged from 48.69 per cent in Ahuriri to 32.89 per cent in Nelson Park, where 3781 voters compared with a roll of 11,496, while in the Hastings District it ranged from over 50 per cent in the rural wards of Mohaka and Kahuranaki, to 29.78 per cent in Flaxmere, where just 1810 of 6077 on the roll had voted in the preliminary count.
The most active voters in the area over the last three weeks were in the Wairoa District, about 63 per cent, about a point up on 2013 when Wairoa had the second highest polling rate in New Zealand, while Central Hawke's Bay and Tararua also both had turnouts of well over 50 per cent.