Online voting trial shut down over cost

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Local Government NZ says progress so far means it is likely the trial will still go ahead in 2022. Photo credit: Getty

The cost of making online voting possible has forced a trial run to be put on the backburner.

The proposed test was expected to go ahead for next year's local body elections, but canned despite a provider and security test all checking out.

Local Government NZ working party spokesperson Marguerite Delbet said local councils had to cough up a lot of cash - $4 million in total.

"If you take Wellington, the cost was going to be just over $1 million; the cost for Hamilton was going to be $740,000. This is a big cost in addition to their overall election costs."

Ms Delbet says progress so far means it is likely the trial will still go ahead in 2022.

"It's enabled us to establish that we can deliver a trial that would meet the security requirements that have been set - which are very high."

Rising postal costs are making it increasingly difficult for certain sectors of the public to take part in the current voting system, Local Government NZ said.

"Online voting has been successfully adopted in local and national elections overseas for a number of years," said Ms Delbet, adding that local government should not have to pick up the tab.

"We do need to look at a different approach - a partnership at a sector level and/or at a national level I think would be the way to go."

The councils involved in the scrapped trial were Auckland, Gisborne, Hamilton, Marlborough, Matamata-Piako, Palmerston North, Selwyn, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington.

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