13 Aug 2022

Local body nominee numbers still low as elections approach

4:20 pm on 13 August 2022

Despite an 11th-hour rush of nominations for this year's local body elections, Local Government New Zealand says the numbers could still be too low.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ

This week it called for more nominations, from a broader range of people.

President Stuart Crosby said the last-minute influx was expected, but there was still a risk the nominee numbers were too low in some places.

"They could be a little low, particularly in the area of community boards," he said.

He says the final numbers will be known when the returning officers declare which nominations are valid.

Some mayors have been re-elected uncontested now nominations closed at midday yesterday, but a crowd of mayors were headed for the door.

Crosby said it was not unusual for mayors to be re-elected unopposed, and he was aware that Central Otago, Waimakariri and Central Hawke's Bay would all keep their incumbents.

"But in many areas there will be new mayors, because a number of mayors, probably more than normal, are standing down," he said "I still expect a lot of bright new fresh-faced mayors post October the 8th."

Crosby said Local Government New Zealand would now turn its focus to increasing voter turnout.

While voter numbers had traditionally been variable, he said the recent trend had been downwards.

"I guess we're still frustrated though that it's a pretty antiquated system of voting, a postal vote, pieces of paper.

"And we're really frustrated that this whole system couldn't go electronic to encourage more people to vote, particularly younger generations."

Crosby encouraged everyone who was eligible to vote, to do so in the September-to-October voting period, and said it wasn't an onerous task to look through a candidate booklet.

Voting in the council elections starts next month.

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