Like most of New Zealand, voter turnout for Hawke's Bay local body elections is low.

In Flaxmere voter returns so far are the lowest in Hastings, which some say could be because, for Flaxmere's 11,000 residents, there is only one post box outside the shopping precinct

In Havelock North, another satellite suburb of Hastings, there are eight post boxes outside the shopping precinct for its population of 13,000.

A new mobile enrolment and voting service was available for this year's elections in areas such as Flaxmere where the postal service was less accessible - a one-stop-shop where electors could enrol, post voting papers or make a special vote. Ballot boxes were installed in Flaxmere and Havelock North Library as well as the Hastings District Council civic building on Lyndon Rd East.


In Napier the voting rate is up on this time last year, bucking the national trend.

The increase may be due to an uncontested mayoralty race three years ago. But still, Napier turnout for local body elections is about half of central government elections - 80 per cent nationally.

On Thursday October 10 the total number of votes cast for Napier City, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Hawke's Bay District Health Boards stood at 43 per cent compared with 36 per cent for the same period in the 2016 election. For the same period Hastings District recorded 37 per cent compared with 38 per cent for the same period in 2016. Central Hawke's Bay stood at 45 per cent and Wairoa 35 per cent.

Local Focus hit the streets of Napier and Hastings asking people why they voted and why some do not.

A Taradale pedestrian said he thought people saw local government as irrelevant compared with central government because it was rarely on their news feed "whereas you see national politics on the news every night".

Another Taradale pedestrian said he rarely heard from local body politicians "from one month to the next".

"They don't seem to do very much so I'm not going to give them a job."

A Taradale shopper said she voted because "you can't moan about anybody if you haven't voted for anybody".


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