Hamilton is on track to be the only major New Zealand city to have reversed waning interest in local government elections.
As of today, only around one quarter – 25.31% – of eligible Hamilton voters had cast a ballot for the city’s mayor and councillors. While still low, that’s 5% up on the number of votes cast at the same time in 2016. And it’s an upward trend not being mirrored elsewhere.
While total votes are slightly ahead in Dunedin (28.37%) and Christchurch (26.98%), returns are down in both cities compared to the same time in 2016. In Auckland, only 22.6% of votes are in with Wellington trailing on just 15.3%, a massive 13.18% slide from 2016.
But with just days to go until voting closes, Hamilton voter returns are trending up, not down, from 2016.
Hamilton City Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs says while having just 25% of votes returned was “nothing to celebrate”, he is pleased to see Hamilton bucking the national trend so far. While still cautious, he is hopeful Hamilton may have halted a decline which saw only one third of eligible Hamilton voters cast a ballot in 2016.
“I still think it’s a real worry that with just days to go so few Hamiltonians have yet to cast a ballot, so in that respect I’m disappointed,” he says.
“But let’s see what happens on Saturday. There have been tremendous efforts put in by individuals and groups all over the city to drive interest in this election, and I’m grateful for that because they’ve worked hard and so far, it’s paid off.
“I include my own team in that because we’ve also pushed the envelope in this election period to engage people on the issues that matter. So, let’s hope the upward trend continues.”
Mr Briggs says while it is now too late to return votes by post, there were still plenty of other options and the Council was doing all it could to make voting easier. Voting packs can still be dropped off in more than 20 places around the city. Voters can drop their voting packs until midday on 12 October at the following locations:
- Central Library
- Glenview Library
- Chartwell Library
- Hillcrest Library
- St Andrews Library
- Dinsdale Library
- Hamilton Gardens
- Hamilton Zoo
- Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
- Wintec City Campus – Library
- The University of Waikato – Library
- Hamilton City Council – Garden Place
- Hamilton City Council – drive-through voting, Anglesea St, 9am to midday, 12 October
Voters can also drop their voting packs off until 12pm on 11 October to:
- Settlement Centre Waikato
- Western Community Centre
- Pukete Neighbourhood House
- Te Whare o te Ata
- Shama Ethnic Women’s Centre
- Waimarie: Hamilton East Community House
- Wintec Rotokauri Campus – Library
- Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa
Ballot boxes are being taken into neighbourhoods around Hamilton by the Council to make it easier for voters to share their voice and if necessary, cast a special vote.
- 10 October, 10.30am to 11.30am, Bupa Eventhorpe Care Home
- 10 October, 3.30pm to 5pm, Pukete Neighbourhood House
- 11 October, 8.30am to 11am, Kaute Pasifika
- 11 October, 3.30pm to 5pm, Pukete Neighbourhood House
- 11 October, 10am to 12pm, Summerset down the Lane
- 11 October, 11.30am to 1.30pm, Waikato Hospital (Meades Clinic Reception)