Although voter turnout for local authority elections in Wairarapa is above the national average, it still falls short of Local Government New Zealand's goal of achieving 50 per cent turnout this year.

LGNZ has launched a new 10-month campaign to increase voter turnout at the 2016 Local Authority Elections after what has been a declining turnout in many areas of New Zealand since the 1980s.

LGNZ's #Vote16NZ campaign, which will run until October 8, aims to lift voter numbers above 50 per cent nationally for the first time since 1998.

Voter turnout in all three Wairarapa districts dropped below 50 per cent in the 2013 elections with Masterton District sitting at 47 per cent, Carterton at 46 per cent, and South Wairarapa's turnout at 45 per cent.


LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said in order to improve these statistics, the first step was to raise public awareness of the value of local government and the role it plays in the everyday lives of New Zealanders.

"Our aim is to grow citizens' understanding of the breadth of services delivered each day by local government across New Zealand, and the impact those services have on their everyday lives," he said.

"By making that connection, we hope it inspires Kiwis to take a more proactive stance on the issues they care about in their communities."

Mr Yule said a vital step in boosting voter turnout was to ensure voters had access to the information about candidates standing in their community and about the voting process, including when, where and how to vote.

This included working with central government to implement an online voting option.

Eight councils, including Masterton District Council, are set to take part in an online voting trial for the Local Authority Elections in October.

Latest LGNZ survey results have shown:

The total national voter turnout for the 2013 election was 41.3 per cent.

The highest voter turnout in 2010 was in the 70-plus age group (89 per cent) and lowest was in the 18-29 age group (34 per cent).

Overall, metro and rural areas saw a 5 per cent decline in turnout between 2010 and 2013 while provincial electorates saw a 3 per cent decline.

The main reasons people give for not voting is not knowing enough about the candidates.

(31 per cent), 'forgot or left too late' (24 per cent), 'not interested' or 'too busy' (each 14 per cent).

A number of areas successfully lifted voting turnout in 2013. The biggest rise was Southland District (7 per cent). The biggest drop was Hurunui District (24 per cent).

Wellington was the only metro district to lift voter numbers in 2013 (2 per cent).

Auckland saw the largest drop (15 per cent).