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Port Waikato by-election candidate frustrated by limited voting places

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Nov 2023, 4:32PM
The Port Waikato byelection takes on more significance following the final election result. Photo / RNZ
The Port Waikato byelection takes on more significance following the final election result. Photo / RNZ

Port Waikato by-election candidate frustrated by limited voting places

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Nov 2023, 4:32PM

A candidate for the Port Waikato byelection is frustrated there are only seven places to make an advanced vote from Monday. 

Votes for the local MP were not counted in the general election following the death of Act candidate Neil Christensen only days before polling. 

The Electoral Commission said there were seven voting places open before election day in Pōkeno, Pukekohe, Tuakau, Te Kauwhata and Waiuku. 

National MP Andrew Bayly, the incumbent in the seat, said some of the electorate is “a very remote farming area”. 

“There are few settlements and only one or two schools ... To rely on a single place of voting on the 25th of November and they may have to spend up to an hour travelling to it, I think it’s unreasonable,” he said. 

“Every election should have the opportunity to be fully staffed and properly run and people have the opportunity to advance vote, particularly in the rural parts of the electorate. 

“I’m not sure we’ve got good coverage and something I’m certainly going to talk to the Electoral Commission [about].” 

Deputy chief executive operations Anusha Guler said on election day, November 25, there would be a total of 37 voting places open including Waikaretu School, Naike Community Hall, and Glen Murray Community Hall. 

The commission said it had used many of the same voting place locations for the Port Waikato byelection as were used for the general election, but some were not available. 

For the general election there were 10 open in the advance period and 44 open on Saturday, October 14. 

Guler said it was usual for the number of voting places to be lower in a byelection than in a general election due to a shorter timeframe to secure locations. 

She encouraged voters to check opening hours and locations before they go to vote. 

EasyVote packs have been delivered to enrolled voters in the electorate that include an EasyVote card, list of candidates and voting places list. 

During the first week of voting, there will be a letterbox drop providing information about the byelection, including when and where people can vote. 

– Emma Stanford, RNZ 

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