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Second-best turnout in NZ


Carterton District Council [CDC] elections drew the second-best voter turnout in New Zealand.

Its turnout of 59.06 per cent was second only to Kaikoura District Council’s 62.02 per cent.

It was also CDC’s highest turnout since 2007, bucking a national trend of voter turnout decline. As well as a fierce mayoral contest between Ron Mark and Greg Lang, CDC ran an out-of-the-box campaign targeting people who needed encouragement to vote.

A series of advertisements included the tagline: “I’m sick of us being called Farterton” – Sound like you? Stand for council.”

CDC communications and engagement manager Elisa Brown said her team put a lot of work into a well-researched campaign that was “a little bit left field to combat the trend across New Zealand of a declining voter turnout”.

“The campaign was effective because the messaging was localised, and it was across many different platforms, and the messaging was blunt, divisive and constant. Whether people loved it or hated it, our engaged Carterton community were talking about it.”

She said some voters told CDC staff they only voted because they saw the campaign on social media.

“We not only achieved a higher turnout than 2019, but our highest since 2007. Thank you to all the residents who voted for the people they want to represent them for the next three years.”

It wasn’t just through social media that the message to vote was made clear. CDC also used targeted digital advertising on websites. The most interesting result was that the campaign was viewed 1468 times on the free online gaming website www.crazygames.com, which generally targets a younger demographic.

In South Wairarapa, voter turnout was 54.28 per cent, and in Masterton turnout was 46.68. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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