Napier had its highest voter turnout for local body elections in at least nine years, a 6 percentage point increase, the biggest jump in voters of any city council in New Zealand.

Based on preliminary results, 22,098 people voted, excluding special votes, which is 50.04 per cent of eligible voters.

That is up from 43.85 per cent in 2016, 47.76 per cent in 2013 and 44.88 per cent in 2010.

While not the highest turn-out in the region (that honour again goes to Central Hawke's Bay with 54.56 per cent), it is the only area to see an increase in voters compared with 2016.


Napier's 6.19 percentage point increase put it ahead of its nearest city council competitor Hamilton, which went up 5.2 percentage points.

The largest increase of any council, however, was Matamata-Piako District Council, which increased 27 percentage points from 2016, a spokesperson for Local Government New Zealand said.

Newly elected mayor Kirsten Wise said the turnout was spectacular and demonstrated the Napier community wanted change.

"I think it's absolutely fantastic, I actually predicted early on in the campaign that we would have over 50 per cent voter turnout, I'm an eternal optimist.

"It's great that we've achieved that."

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She said having a mayoral race would have been one factor which increased voter turnout compared with 2016.

LGNZ Principal Policy Adviser Mike Reid said there are many factors which could lead to increased voter turn-out.


This could include strong campaigns, increased understanding of what council do and high-profile opportunities or challenges in the region.

Voter turnout in Hawke's Bay:

Central Hawke's Bay: 2019: 54.56 per cent; 2016: 62.65 per cent; 2013: 55.23 per cent; 2010: 56.16 per cent.

Hastings: 2019: 43.63 per cent; 2016: 46.78 per cent; 2013: 44.90 per cent; 2010: 44.13 per cent.

Napier: 2019: 50.04 per cent; 2016: 43.85 per cent; 2013: 47.76 per cent; 2010: 44.88 per cent.

Wairoa: 2019: 42.87 per cent; 2016: 54.50 per cent (no further details on voter return for previous years found).