Voting in local body elections has been slower than in previous years, but Canterbury is the exception.
The postal ballots do not close until 12 October but the number of papers that have been returned in many districts is lower than at the same stage in 2010.
The main centres are particularly slow to cast their votes, although Christchurch is bucking the trend along with other Canterbury districts.
Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says that is probably because the uncertainty after the earthquakes means people are looking for good leadership.
He says they also want to have a say in how the area is rebuilt.
Mr Yule says it is too early to predict a lower turnout than in 2010, and a surge in returned ballots is likely after the weekend.
Invercargill City Council electoral officer Graham Low says the poor turnout is concerning.
Mr Low says people who have not received their voting papers in the mail should contact their local council.
Vote returns are particularly low in most of the main centres.