The Government's decision to pull the pin on a trial of online voting has come as no surprise to Whanganui Mayor Annette Main.

Internal Affairs Minister Louise Upston announced the plan for eight councils, including Whanganui, to trial online voting wouldn't go ahead because time was running out for councils to prove voting systems addressed concerns about security and vote integrity.

Yesterday Ms Main said the decision didn't surprise her with elections only six months away.

"It's getting close to the election, and I don't believe that there's enough time for us to engage with the public and have them confident about this process, and that's really important," she said.


"If the intention was to increase voter participation I don't think it would have achieved that at this late stage."

But Ms Main said she was sure online voting would be an option in the 2019 local body elections.

It was estimated the trial would have cost the district council an extra $75,000, but the trial wasn't supported by either the Whanganui District Health Board or Horizons Regional Council. The council's electoral officer manages the vote collection for both those authorities.

Ms Upston said timing restrictions meant preparations for the trial had not met legislative requirements and Government "cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results".

She said security testing was planned but had not yet taken place, and without seeing the results of testing Government could not be confident the systems were secure enough.

The other councils interested in trialling online voting included Selwyn, Wellington, Porirua, Masterton, Rotorua, Matamata-Piako and Palmerston North.

Ms Upston said the Government was open to looking at online voting in the future.