Voter turnout

Why it's important

Voter turnout is an indicator of community engagement and political participation. It can reflect how much people feel engaged in their community.  

Key points

  • In 2016, of people eligible to vote 38% in Christchurch, 45% in Selwyn, and 39% did so. 
  • For Christchurch the 2016 turnout was a 5% decrease from the 2013 elections (43%) and a 14% decrease (52%) from the 2010 elections.
  • For Selwyn, the 2016 election was a 2% increase from 2013 (43%).
  • For Waimakariri, the 2016 election was a 4% increase from 2013 (35%). 


There has been a general downward trend in greater Christchurch in voter turnout for local government elections. The 2010 peak in voter turnout for Christchurch City (52%) now appears to have dissipated and turnout at that election is likely to have been influenced by the September 2010 earthquake, which preceded the delivery of voting papers by two weeks.

In 2016, voter turnout in Christchurch City had fallen to below pre-earthquake levels, at 38%. Voter turnout in the Selwyn District remains steady at pre-earthquake levels (approximately 45%). Voter turnout in the Waimakariri District was similar to Selwyn District in 2010 at 42%, dropping to 35% in 2013, followed by an increase to 39% in 2016.

Note: Christchurch City amalgamated with Banks Peninsula in 2006, so 2007 data onwards includes this change. For the 2016 elections, Christchurch also changed its councillor numbers from 14 over 7 wards to 16 (with a councillor for each).

Data notes

Elections take place every three years (most recent one 2016).

Some Wards in CCC did not have a voting percentage as only one councillor stood (so was elected unopposed). For those wards, voting percentage was calculated based on their votes for their community boards instead.

Data information and downloads

Data Source

Department of Internal Affairs, Local Authority Election Statistics(external link)

Data Access

Freely available

Date Updated

After every local government election (last one was 2016), next election October 2019

Page Updated

May 2019

Data downloads available

Geographic  Area

Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council

Other download variables

By Ward for 2016

Data Download

Download the tables [XLS, 23 KB]

Links to other information and reports