Voters have just 24 hours to get off their backsides and vote in this year's local body elections.

In several big cities, notably Auckland and Wellington, fewer people are casting votes and the nationwide turnout could see a record low.

After tracking steadily upwards, the vote at Auckland Council dipped yesterday and is heading towards the worst result since the Super City began in 2010.

Just 29.8 per cent of the Auckland vote had been returned, less than the 33.4 per cent figure at the same time in 2016 and 31.2 per cent in 2013.


Wellingtonians, who live and breathe politics like no other city in New Zealand, have had a dismal turnout so far with just 13.6 per cent votes returned by Monday.

The nationwide turnout in 2016 was 42 per cent, a smidgen above the 41.3 per cent figure in 2013 and well down on the 49 per cent turnout in 2010.

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Local government expert Elizabeth Hughes said sadly local government was becoming less and less relevant to the man and the woman in the street even though it affects a lot of what they use and do.

"People do not just feel that local government has relevance to them because of the distance between them and the decision-making process on decisions that affect them," she said.

She said many councils are making an heroic effort to increase voter turnout at this election, including Hamilton, Gisborne, Wairarapa, Tauranga and councils in Hawke's Bay.

In Hamilton, the number of votes returned so far is up more than 4 per cent on last time. Hamilton City Council has been making a big effort to encourage voter turnout, including spending $15,000 on a meet-the-candidate event and mayoral debate hosted by TV journalist Mike McRoberts. Hamilton had the worst voter turnout of all metropolitan centres in 2016.

The voter turnout in Whangarei is also tracking well, with 28.2 per cent of votes returned earlier this week.

New Zealanders have 24 hours left to cast a vote in the local body elections. Photo / Northern Advocate
New Zealanders have 24 hours left to cast a vote in the local body elections. Photo / Northern Advocate

People can still vote up to midday tomorrow by dropping their papers into libraries, council services centres and other locations.

If you are unsure about where and how you can vote, contact your council or go to the council website.

In Auckland, locations include libraries, Auckland Council service centres, Britomart train station and One Stop Shops.

Auckland organisations can arrange to have a mobile ballot box sent to their workplace by calling the Auckland Council elections team on 09 977 5981.

Mobile boxes are also being sent to a number of hospitals, marae and community centres.

If people don't have voting papers or their voting papers are damaged, they can still have their say by casting a special vote.

These can be cast at five libraries, nine council service centres, or the Independent Election Services office.

The One Stop Shop initiative allows people to enrol and vote at the same time.

Ten more One Stop Shops will pop up across the city before voting closes.

A list of locations is available at the elections website,