Campaign and research

LGNZ’s Vote2016 campaign encouraged more Kiwis to get involved in the local authority elections October 2016.

Local election turnout has been declining in many areas of New Zealand since the 1980s. In 2013, voting turnout nationally was just 41.3 per cent. Vote2016 aimed to lift voter numbers above 50 per cent nationally for the first time since 1998. After nearly two decades, our ambition is that local government could be elected by a majority of New Zealanders.

The campaign also encouraged citizens with strong leadership qualities and a passion for their community to consider standing as candidates themselves.

Vote2016 was based on domestic and international research about who is voting, who isn’t voting, why they aren’t voting and what will influence them to vote. Measures to build elector turnout included a strong focus on younger voters.

To link to our media release click here: A new campaign to increase voter turnout at the 2016 Local Authority Elections

What matters most to Kiwis

Our independent research indicates New Zealanders are aware of and value the core services that local government provides, such as playgrounds, local parks, transports and roads, waste management, water sanitation, building consents, noise control, swimming pools and public toilets.

However, some of the bigger community issues that local government manages are less well known. These include: 

  • Protecting our natural environment including rivers, lakes, coastlines and air quality.
  • Ensuring the safety of our cities and public spaces.
  • Providing our teenagers with recreational opportunities to prevent boredom, crime and vandalism.
  • Elderly care and safety.
  • Available housing and housing for the homeless.
  • Economic development, attracting business and increasing job opportunities.
  • Maintaining an attractive city, with liveable places and green spaces.
  • Listening to community needs.

Click here for a visual summary of our campaign.

Other facts and figures

Our survey results have shown:

  • The total national voter turnout for the 2013 election was 41.3 per cent and for the 2016 election was 42.0 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 five per cent decline in turn out between 2010 and 2013 while provincial electorates saw a three 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 (seven per cent).  The biggest drop was Hurunui District (24 per cent).
  • Wellington was the only Metro district to lift voter numbers in 2013 (two per cent).  Auckland saw the largest drop (15 per cent).
  • New Zealand’s local body voter turnout is lower than a number of OECD countries with similar forms of government, including Ireland, Denmark and Norway – but it is still higher than Australia, England or Canada.

Click here to view interesting statistics about voter turnout, vote demographics and candidates.

Click here to view key information from our Elected Member Survey.