Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta issues 'please explain' after voting papers for local election fail to turn up

Nanaia Mahuta.
Nanaia Mahuta. Photo credit: Newshub.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has issued a 'please explain' after she failed to receive her voting papers for the local elections.

One of the two independent companies that run the elections, Election Services, is, in turn, demanding answers from New Zealand Post about what happened in her Waikato District and is checking whether the problem is more widespread.

If there's one person you'd expect to vote in the local body elections, it's the local government minister.

The trouble is that you need to receive the voting papers - and Nanaia Mahuta didn't.

"I'm really concerned and in fact, it could impact on the outcome. I haven't received my voting papers so that will require a special vote."

Mahuta on Wednesday night issued a please explain.

"I can only speak to my own council area when I received a lot of calls around people in my community not receiving their voting papers. I raised that with the CE [chief executive]."

The company responsible for getting the papers out said New Zealand Post told them a tray of about 200 had not made it into Waikato letter boxes, but by Thursday morning they were on their way.

Local Government New Zealand's Susan Freeman-Greene said sending out 3.5 million ballots is a mammoth task, especially when snail mail's fast becoming obsolete.

"You know, using the post these days in 2022 is a little bit like using landlines. We're not doing that much of it in 2022."

Freeman-Greene said it's time to look again at holding a polling day as well as online voting because the world's moved on since the idea was rejected eight years ago.

"I mean, we've had COVID, we've learned a lot about the digital world, so really, really keen that we put online voting back on the table, think about a polling day and think beyond that, how we get people engaged with their communities and understand the importance of local government."

But in the meantime, if you haven't received your papers, check online if you're enrolled and get onto your local council about getting a special vote. 

The last day to send postal ballots is next Tuesday and the last day to drop them off in person is midday the Saturday after next.