The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation



 

Services › Local Elections › Local Authority Election Statistics 2019

Background

Background

The Department compiles voting statistics from local authority elections (local elections), which are held every three years. Local authorities include city, district and regional councils, district health boards (DHBs), local and community boards, and trusts (such as licensing trusts).


The 2019 local election is the eleventh since the restructuring of local government in 1989. The 1989 local election is the base year for comparisons.

The Electoral Commission provides information on turnout at General Elections.

2019 Local Authority Election Statistics

The 2019 local elections statistics are sourced primarily from a questionnaire sent to all electoral officers. Information for each electoral ward includes the number of eligible voters, number of actual voters, number of special and invalid votes, number of candidates, number of sitting members seeking re-election, number of women candidates, and number of women elected.


The statistics are provided as open data, in the form of spreadsheets. Releasing the statistics in this form makes the information more accessible to, and useable by, interested parties (such as government agencies, councils, and researchers).

The prepared statistics represent the official record of voter turnout for local elections. To ensure accuracy, the data was carefully reviewed and checked. However, due to the volume and number of sources involved in the data collection, there may be some errors which are beyond our control.

The Department thanks all electoral officers for providing the data. The Department would also like to thank Local Government New Zealand and the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers for their assistance with this project.

2019 Local Authority Election Trends

Voter turnout (turnout) and the representation of women as candidates and elected members are the most commonly requested local elections statistics. Charts illustrating these trends over the last 31 years are shown below. Corresponding brief descriptions of these statistics are in the form of proportions, identifying and comparing these across local elections.

Voter turnout

For turnout, the total percentage represents the number of electors on the roll.


Trend in Local Authority Voter Turnout from 1989 to 2019

Read the long description

Note: Mayoral turnout includes contested elections of mayors for city and district councils. Council turnout covers contested city, district, and regional council elections. Uncontested elections are not included in this statistic.

Since the nationwide restructuring of local government in 1989, turnout has declined from 57% to 42.2% in 2019. Results over the past three elections show an overall stabilisation in turnout.

Higher turnout in the 2010 elections is partly attributed to increased local voting for the first Auckland “super city” election, and in Christchurch following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake.

Voter Turnout by Council Type from 1989 to 2019

Read the long description

Note: Voter turnout based on councillor elections for city, district, and regional councils.

While turnout for all council types has declined since 1989, turnout is generally higher for district councils than for city or regional councils. Since 2013, turnout for regional councils has gradually increased.

Representation of women

For the representation of women as candidates and elected members, the total percentage represents the number of all candidates and elected members respectively.


Proportion of women candidates and elected members from 1989 to 2019

Read the long description

Note: This chart covers all local authority elections, including mayoralties, councils, community boards, trusts, and DHBs.

Since 1989, the proportion of women elected to local authorities is incrementally but continuously rising. The 2019 results show the highest percentage of women candidates (36%) and elected members (39%) out of the total group of candidates and elected members in the last 31 years. Compared to 2016, the number of women candidates and elected members increased by 61 and 41 respectively.

Proportion of elected women by election year from 2010 to 2019

Read the long description

The proportion of women elected to most areas of local government is steadily increasing. Local boards have the largest representation of elected women overall, with 51% of electable positions held by women. Parts of local government where women elected members increased most notably between the 2016 and 2019 local elections are regional councils (+ 7%, 11 members), city councils (+ 9%, 16 members), and mayors (+ 8%, 5 members). Similar to preceding years, district councils saw increases in the number of women elected, increasing from 34% to 38% with 25 additional women elected. Results from DHBs show the most significant proportional change of women elected, dropping to 40% from 53% (less 28 women members) in the 2016 local elections. However, this remains higher than the proportion of women elected in several other areas of local government.

Proportion of women by election type (2019)

Read the long description

The most significant increase in representation of women as candidates and as elected members is for city councils. These indicate that although women made up 31% of the total candidate pool, they won 43% of the electable positions. Similar trends occurred for most areas of local government included in the 2019 local elections, excluding community boards and trusts.

The 2016 data set, including graphs and the 2016 and 2013 local elections statistics, can be downloaded as an Excel file by clicking the following link:
The 2019 elections statistics can also be downloaded as an individual CSV file:

Previous Local Authority Election Statistics

Data

The full data set, including the charts and the 2016 and 2013 election statistics, can be downloaded as an Excel file by clicking the following link:
The 2016, 2013 and 2010 election statistics can also be downloaded as individual csv files: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work as long as you attribute the work to the Department of Internal Affairs (and abide by the other licence terms – see the plain English licence terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.

Previous Local Authority Election Statistics Reports

For elections prior to 2013 the Department of Internal Affairs has produced detailed reports analysing results at both the national and regional levels.