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Voter behaviour in the 2004 local elections

14 March 2005

Local Government New Zealand ’s survey into voter behaviour in the 2004 local elections shows that voter awareness was high and the reasons for voting or not voting were similar to the survey after the 2001 elections.

“This research indicates there were no significant new issues affecting voter behaviour in 2004. People surveyed who voted believed it was their democratic duty and wanted to have their say about the composition of their local council”, said Hon Margaret Shields, Acting President, Local Government New Zealand.

“The reasons for not voting remain the perennial ones of: not enough information about candidates, too busy/didn’t get round to it, and not interested in the elections. These are not new issues but issues we face every election.

“We were pleased that 83 percent of those surveyed said they had seen advertising prior to the elections. The challenge for our members is to move people to act on their awareness. We will be working with councils to further address these issues in time for the 2007 elections,” said Mrs Shields.

Local Government New Zealand’s surveyed 2,814 eligible voters across seven local authorities over the four week period following the October elections. The research gave an indication of voting patterns, reasons why people did or didn’t vote, election knowledge, awareness, voter behaviour and the attitudes and opinions of eligible voters. The average turnout for the 2004 local elections was approximately 50 percent of eligible voters, which was comparable with the last few local elections.

The 2004 survey included eligible voters from the following councils: Far North District Council, Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council, Wellington City Council, Marlborough District Council, Waimate District Council, and Christchurch City Council. Local Government New Zealand conducted a similar post-election survey after the 2001 local elections.

Local Government New Zealand has included the survey results in its submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on the review of the 2004 elections. A summary of survey findings can be viewed on www.lgnz.co.nz.


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