17 Sep 2022

LGNZ eager to get out the vote for elections

3:10 pm on 17 September 2022
Susan Freeman-Greene, left, and Jennifer Parker promote local body elections voting

Photo: RNZ / Krystal Gibbens

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) wants to lift the percentage of people that vote in local body elections.

LGNZ chief executive Susan Freeman-Greene said only four out of 10 eligible voters vote in local government elections, compared to eight out of 10 in central government elections.

She says they are encouraging every single voter to get out there and vote.

Freeman-Greene said when people get their papers, she wants them to sit down and look at them.

"Grab a cuppa, open them up, find out about your candidates and actually vote."

She encourages people to find out more more about their candidates and how they will represent their interests.

She also wants people to encourage their family and friends to vote.

LGNZ has also been running a "multifaceted campaign" to improve voting across the spectrum, but Freeman-Greene said it will take more than one election cycle.

One of the groups that historically do not vote is younger people.

Freeman-Greene said this came partially from a misconception that local elections were only for ratepayers.

Wellington City Council deputy electoral officer Jennifer Parker said they have really pushed to reached younger voters and have used social media to get the message out "strongly".

She said they want people to vote in "their first and second elections" because research shows those people are more likely to keep voting.

Parker said they also looked at "where the gaps were" for voters, and put ballot boxes in places like petrol stations and dairies to make it easier for people to access.

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Ballots are going out for this year's local body elections. Photo: RNZ

Ballot boxes are also at council service centres, libraries and supermarkets.

She said in Wellington there are "55 ballot boxes out around the city."

Across the country, Freeman-Greene said LGNZ had helped facilitate an "extra 400" boxes.

Once completed, voting papers can be posted at any NZ Post box or into one of the secure ballot boxes.

Voting closes at midday on Saturday, 8 October.

All registered electors should receive their voting papers by 21 September.

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