Nearly half of the people who did not vote in New Zealand's general election last year made their decision not to vote on Election Day.

The Electoral Commission has released the results of a survey today which aimed to understand people's satisfaction with the voting process and their reasons for failing to get to the polling booth.

The 2011 general election had the lowest turnout in 120 years, with a million eligible voters not casting a vote.

Voter turnout dropped from 79.5 per cent of those on the electoral rolls in 2008 to 73.8 per cent in 2012.


The survey showed that the reasons for not voting were similar to the 2008 election. Non-voters said they had other commitments (14 percent), work (9 percent), could not be bothered (14 percent), could not decide who to vote for (11 percent), or felt their vote would not make a difference (8 percent).

The biggest influence on New Zealanders who did not vote was a distrust of politicians. A third of all non-voters said this was their reason for failing to turn up on election day.

A large proportion of non-voters cited the polls predicting the National Party's victory, and decided the election was a foregone conclusion. The percentage of non-voters who said this was a factor was far higher in 2011 than in 2008.

One-third of non-voters said they were unaware of the option to vote in advance, and would have voted if they had known about it.

The survey also showed that people were leaving their vote until later on Election Day, with fewer people heading to the polling booth in the morning and a greater number voting after 5pm.

The survey was based on interviews with 1097 voters and 272 non-voters.