The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Voter turnout and representation of women in the 2019 Local Authority Elections

7 April 2020

Since 1959, the Department of Internal Affairs (the Department) has compiled and released information on local authority elections (local elections). The 2019 local elections statistics cover the election of mayors, city and district councillors, regional councils, local and community boards, trusts, and district health boards.

Since the nationwide restructuring of local government in 1989, voter turnout has declined from 57% of total potential voters to 42.2% in 2019. Compared to 43% in 2016, the proportion of voter turnout in 2019 decreased slightly. However, results over the past three elections show an overall stabilisation in voter turnout.

The proportion of women candidates and elected members continues to rise. The 2019 statistics 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. Areas 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).

The Department is releasing the local elections statistics as open data on its website. Releasing the statistics in this form allows interested parties to download the data for every district, town, and community, and import it into an analytical programme of their choice. This makes the data more accessible to, and useable by, key users of local elections statistics (such as government agencies, councils, and researchers).

The full 2019 local elections statistics are available for download on the Department’s website.