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Re-elected Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams drops his vote into the ballot box at council. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Time’s ticking for last-minute voters

Hauraki’s voter turn-out has been “average to crap” the past few local body elections, but the mayor is hopeful that once votes are counted come Saturday, the numbers will reflect at least half of the district’s population.
Voting closes at midday this Saturday for the 2022 local elections, with progress results published at around 3pm.
But for those who have not yet sent their voting paper through the post, Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams – who has already been reelected unopposed – encouraged residents to bring it into any of council’s three offices, where they can stick it in an orange ballot box instead.
“If you’re leaving it to the last minute, the most appropriate way to ensure your vote is going to count is to drop it into one of the offices rather than trying to post it,” he said. “If you rely on NZ Post getting it to where it needs to be, it might not make it in time.”
Mayor Adams told The Profile that voter turn-out for Hauraki had been “average to crap” the past few elections, with barely 40 per cent of ratepayers having their say.
According to data from the Department of Internal Affairs, at the 2016 local body elections, Hauraki had a 44.6 per cent voter turn-out, while the neighbouring Thames-Coromandel district had 51 per cent.
“As a country, we’re very good at complaining, but we’re not very good at being proactive and voting, so it’d be really neat to see Hauraki have a really high voter turn-out,” Mayor Adams said. “About 50 per cent would be nice – we never get much above 40 per cent – and it always makes it difficult to hear all those complaints afterwards, realising that 60 per cent of the district didn’t vote.”
Mayor Adams said council impacted the daily lives of all residents, so voting was important to ensure diversity around the table.
“The people that are appointed are there to represent you and make decisions based on what they feel the community’s needs are. If not enough people have voted, then they may not be getting enough of the demographics in their decision making,” he said.
“Vote for people that align with your way of thinking, regardless of how you think. That way you’re ensuring your voice is getting heard around the council table.”
After voting has closed at midday on October 8, same-day progress results will be published around 3pm; however, final results will not be published for another week.
With Mayor Adams already retaining the top job for a further three years, he said that while there won’t be the usual “nervous wait” for him this weekend, he was still anxious for the other candidates.
He said he’d like to get together with those successful and unsuccessful after the outcome.
“Anybody that puts their head above the parapet deserves recognition and thanks, regardless of whether they are successful or not.”
As of September 29, 15.2 per cent of Hauraki’s eligible voters had returned their voting documents. In the lead was the Plains ward, with 16.4 per cent, closely followed by Waihi at 14.8 per cent and Paeroa at 14.5 per cent.
However, the numbers were lagging behind compared to previous years.
In 2019, 22.1 per cent of the eligible Hauraki population had already returned their voting documents by the same date. In 2016, 26.3 per cent had voted.