Communities with a higher median age, more home ownership or a smaller population engaged more in this year's local election than other areas, a Herald analysis found.
A political scientist says the findings are "completely unsurprising" and reflected "really big issues" affecting voter turnout and the need to engage younger people in voting.
Voter turnout was lower this year than 2019 in several areas across New Zealand.
The analysis of electoral data also showed just how close the mayoral race was between some candidates and which mayors had landslide victories over their rivals.
The 2022 local elections, which ended on October 8, resulted in new mayors for several regions, including Wayne Brown in Auckland, Tory Whanau in Wellington and Jules Radich in Dunedin.
Councils are responsible for their own elections and many contract the service to private companies. The voter turnout data analysed encompasses councils that use electionz.com. It is preliminary and subject to change.
Median age of the entire population, including people under 18, has been used as supplied by Stats NZ.
Different voting systems are used across the boards. Some, like Auckland, use the first past the post (FPP) system, while others, like Wellington, use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system.
AUT political scientist Dr Julienne Molineaux said home ownership was an important factor because people put their "roots down" and tended to move less frequently.
They also received quarterly or monthly rates bills which functioned as a reminder of their "relationship with the council".
Meanwhile, for renters, rates would often be encompassed in the rent they paid, however, tenants would not get a disaggregated breakdown of how much of their rent went towards rates, she said.
For renters, Molineaux said: "the other factor is if you move frequently, you are less likely to have your details up to date with the Electoral Commission."
"There's both the increased mobility of renters and the lack of a reminder that you're a ratepayer too."
Home ownership had a weak effect nationally but a strong effect in Auckland.
Local boards in Auckland, where higher proportions of the population lived in their own home, had more people vote in the local election.
In Rodney, where home ownership was 51.6 per cent, turnout was 45.4 per cent.
In Franklin and the Hibiscus & Bays local boards, ownership was 50.3 per cent and 51.1 per cent respectively, while turnout was 42.5 per cent and 41.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu board, home ownership was 20.5 per cent and turnout was 25.3 per cent.
Molineaux said a worry was the drop in home ownership in Auckland, where houses were unaffordable for many.
She said there was some evidence that if a person did not begin voting within around three voting cycles, it was highly unlikely they would ever vote.
"If those things delay people setting down their roots and getting their rates bills and lots of election cycles have passed and they haven't voted, how hard [will it be] for them to start voting? I think the drop in home ownership in Auckland has consequences for voting."
Nationally, the analysis indicated councils with smaller populations had higher voter turnout.
For example, in Kaikōura, with a population of 4260, 61.8 per cent of eligible people voted, the same as in 2019.
In Mackenzie, with 5480 people, 54 per cent voted. However, this is a decline from the 60.5 per cent turnout in 2019.
Meanwhile, in Auckland, where 1.7m people live, overall voter turnout was around 35 per cent. In 2010, a record 50.1 per cent voted in Auckland.
Voter turnout varies by board within the Super City. Special votes are still to be counted.
On the last day of voting, 65,000 people cast their vote in Auckland by the noon deadline, well above the 40,000 people who did so on the last day of the 2019 local election.
The low voter turnout prompted Local Government New Zealand to call for an independent review.
Molineaux noted that more people voted in general elections than local elections so the act of not voting in a local election did not necessarily mean the person was not civic-minded or felt excluded from the political process.
There was also an association between voter turnout and a board area's median age. Councils with a higher median age tended to have a higher voter turnout than locations with a younger population.
Molineaux said it had long been known that turnout was lower for younger people,.
And age appeared to have even more impact on engagement in Auckland.
She said for local body politics, there were also many children in families where the parents did not vote, supporting the argument for dropping the voting age to 16 and getting kids enrolled while they were at school.
"There's likely to be an election while they are in senior secondary school where they can learn about elections and get encouraged to get involved and be told their voice matters."
Data from mayoralty races across the country showed the largest margin was incumbent mayor Tania Gibson's win in Grey, a district in the West Coast with around 13,000 people.
She secured 12 times more votes than the runner up, Richard Osmaston, who was running for mayor in six South Island councils.
South Taranaki's incumbent Phil Nixon had a 583-vote margin, or nine times more votes over the runner up, while Ashburton's Neil Brown tallied up 7.9 times more votes than the next candidate.
Wayne Brown won the Auckland mayoralty over Efeso Collins after he received 1.2 times more votes (57,753) than his rival.
In the Capital city, where turnout increased, Tory Whanau was rewarded by voters with a landslide win, receiving 34, 510 votes, more than two times what incumbent Andy Foster received.
Meanwhile, just eight votes separated first and second place in the mayoralty race in the Chatham Islands, which was won by incumbent Monique Croon with 124 votes.
Median age, population and home ownership data has been sourced from Stats NZ.