Indicative figures from Local Government NZ put voter turnout for the 2022 local government elections at an overall average across the country of 40%. This voting behaviour breaks down to 41% in Metro areas (down from 42% in 2019), 44% Provincial (down from 48% in 2019) and 49% Rural (down from 54% in 2019).
Our sample were slightly more engaged (which is expected from an online panel); 67% reported that they voted in October. Analysis clearly shows that voter turnout increases with age. Intention to vote in the general election is higher at 94% of our sample.
The reasons why people didn’t vote in the local elections differed with age. For 15–34-year-olds awareness was the major problem. The 35–54-year-olds were more likely to have disengaged with the voting process, due to a lack of trust or just giving it a low priority in a busy life. The 55+ non-voters felt that they did not have access to enough information to make informed decision.
Awareness is definitely one of the problems and it seems a national campaign would go some way to help remedy this. The bulk of people thought it would be somewhat effective. The majority of those that thought it would not work to raise awareness identified that this is not the only issue when it comes to turning out. So, raising awareness is one thing but encouraging to vote will require a different strategy on top.