Youth! Y U NO ENROL?

It is important young Kiwis are involved in the political process. They are the future and have a stake in our democracy. However, at the moment almost a third of 18–24-year-olds and a fifth of 25–29-year-olds are not enrolled to vote in the upcoming election! If you aren’t enrolled you can’t vote and have a say on November 26.

Youth Enrolment Nationally (as of 31 August 2011)

Age Est Eligible Population General Roll Maori Roll Total Enrolled Difference % Enrolled
18 – 24 438,300 279,224 35,285 314,509 123,791 71.76%
25 – 29 281,700 198,726 24,866 223,592 58,108 79.37%

(Numbers from the Electoral Commission website.)

It is also worrying that the trend for youth enrolment is heading steadily down.

Percentage of voting age population comparison as at 2002, 2005, 2008 and August 2011

Age 2002 2005 2008 Current
18 – 24 85.70% 81.56% 81.85% 71.76%
25 – 29 95.62% 96.47% 92.77% 79.37%

This trend is disturbing given that we can now enrol online – the way that most youth chose to interact and engage.

The Electoral Commission does do a fantastic job of ramping up enrolments before elections. However, it may be time that a dedicated amount was budgeted for youth focussed enrolment programs to be rolled out. This isn’t just about putting stalls up on university campuses, it’s about getting to the working youth and the young people who are out of work as well.

Regardless of how youth vote, we should be encouraging young Kiwis to vote and take part in the democratic process. It is after all, your future that people like me are deciding here in Parliament, it makes sense that youth should vote for the people and parties that they feel will have the best impact on their future.

So if you know anyone who isn’t enrolled to vote yet prod them until they get on the roll. You can direct them to the Electoral Commission website Enrol to Vote page or their Facebook page. If they’re really lazy you can print out this PDF and leave it conveniently placed somewhere where they may fill it out.

Also check out this PDF that breaks down the current rates of enrollment by region.

59 thoughts on “Youth! Y U NO ENROL?

  1. Don these numbers aren’t shown to be moving in any direction.

    The data Gareth has provided for 2002, 2005 and 2008 represents the percentage of youth enrolled to vote at the time of the election. On it’s own, this data isn’t really going in any clear direction, just hovering in the 80s and 90 respectively.

    He has then compared this data with the percentages enrolled to vote as of August this year. Right before the campaign encouraging youths to enrol to vote begins. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that there is an outlier in both sets of data given that fact. The only thing that should be surprising is that a sitting MP was silly enough to put that data up like it actually meant something. Perhaps a case of finding statistics for your message rather than a message from the statistics.

    However I do agree that lots more Youth should enrol to vote and have just sent in my enrolment form for my first election. :)

  2. While these numbers may seem shocking (and are certainly moving in the wrong direction), they still compare really favorably to countries with truly apathetic youth, like the United States.

  3. “..Fundementally these are social policy issues, which can and should be addressed as social policy issues, which can happen without mentioning the word “Maori” at a policy level…”

    i totally agree..

    ..and that raising-of-all-boats imperative..

    ..also confirms the idiocies of those who somehow feel we can have a happy/secure country…

    ..while excluding maori…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  4. ..and of course..any party purporting to care for the poorest/weakest…

    ..must have a maori-direction…

    ..to recognise/fight against the suffering/inequities maori are labouring under…

    Cart before horse error.

    What you say is basically true, in that many Maori find themselves both at the bottom of the barrell in employment, and inadequately supported by health, education, crime, and other stuff, but these are not “Maori issues”; they are issues that happen to affect (on average) Maori in the worst way. Fundementally these are social policy issues, which can and should be addressed as social policy issues, which can happen without mentioning the word “Maori” at a policy level.

  5. and of course the difference between the greens and the mana movement…

    is that mana will very much have to sell themselves on their policies….

    ..whereas the greens are more selling a concept/an idea…

    ..(which of course allows soft-nats to think of voting green..

    ..those same soft-nats who may find mana-policies ‘scary’…)

    ..therefor policy-detail-selling will be much more important for mana..

    …and not just because they are new…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  6. chrs for going and reading them..

    “..Their stumbling block for some is likely to be their Maori leanings, which is inevitable, given the party was born of dissent within the Maori ranks…”

    that maori-only-party is a construct of the media…

    ..the party-list will put a lie to that..

    ..and one of the main jobs of mana will be to sell that broad-based idea..

    ..(which i don’t doubt they will do…)

    ..and ‘the party was born of dissent within the Maori rank..’

    my reading is that harawira was first horrified by actually doing a deal with national…

    ..and then further disturbed by how for maori esp..everything is just getting worse over under this rightwing govt..

    ..with the promiuse of getting even worse should key/national be returned to office…

    ..i think his ‘dissent’ flows from that policy-direction-system…

    ..and of course..any party purporting to care for the poorest/weakest…

    ..must have a maori-direction…

    ..to recognise/fight against the suffering/inequities maori are labouring under…

    ..(and speaking of ‘labour’…their solution to end poverty is a ten dolllar a week tax cut…

    ..and this to be phased in over three years…

    ..idf it weren’t so sad/irrelevant..it’d be funny…

    ..and i see the strong green party policies..and the strong mana polices…

    ..as fitting/working together well…

    ..and able to make a real difference/stop the rot…

    ..(this is my hope..anyway..)

    ..and i am glad to see how you thought what mana offers is ‘good policies’..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  7. Phil: I’ve looked at the Mana Policies. I think you would be hard pressed to argue that they aren’t a good set of policies from a left leaning party, and look better in many respects than all of the other parties left of the current mob.

    So if your leanings are left: I agree, look at Mana.

    Their stumbling block for some is likely to be their Maori leanings, which is inevitable, given the party was born of dissent within the Maori ranks. Which is a pity, because most of their policies are far more general in nature.

  8. To those who complain that none of the parties represent them, or that they’re all the same: there is an alternative to not voting: vote for a minor party.

    I have never voted for a party that formed a government, and many never got a single representative elected. I’ve voted for (in no particular order): the NLP, some communist party I cannot remember the name of, McGillicuddy Serious (they were going to demolish the Beehive or something like that), various socialist parties, the Greens, various other independents.

    Although most or all of my votes could be considered wasted, I at least leave the voting booth feeling that I haven’t betrayed my values and beliefs, and I can sleep well at night.

  9. Phil says:

    buckly..you are a person standing with yr hand over one eye..saying ‘i have seen/am seeing everything’.. “..there are no credible parties with a chance of forming a government (or a influential chunk of one) for whom to vote…” i repeat…cd u go and have a look at the mana party policies…

    In any sane world I would not give the Mana Party a first look, let alone a second, especially as its headed by Hone who you know will end up fighting himself in his own party, but the insanity is sufficient that tomorrow I will take your advice and read Mana’s policies, and approach them with an open mind.

    (And in other news, Goff has said something sensible and positive)

  10. “..none of the cleansing of the economy is actually taking place…”

    oh..it’s about to start…

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/obama-millionaires-tax-president-to-seek-new-tax-rate-for-wealthy/

    “…President Barack Obama is expected to seek a new base tax rate for the wealthy to ensure that millionaires pay at least at the same percentage as middle income taxpayers.

    A White House official said the proposal would be included in the president’s proposal for long term deficit reduction that he will announce Monday.

    The official spoke anonymously because the plan has not been officially announced.

    Obama is going to call it the “Buffett Rule” for Warren Buffett –

    – the billionaire investor who has complained that rich people like him pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

    Buffett wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece last month that he and his rich friends “have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.”…”

    (cont…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  11. “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned yesterday if the national jobs crisis doesn’t end soon, the United States would see riots in the streets.”

    I don’t see the crisis ending soon; it is going to take some years before the underlying problems that the United States economy faces are fixed and that is if the politicians have the courage to allow those problems to be fixed. People borrowed too much, pure and simple and because the US Government is bailing out everyone and their animals, none of the cleansing of the economy is actually taking place.

  12. They may not be worse – but are certainly worse off – lower wages (pro-costs)and not the abundance of Jobs I had in the 70’s & 80’s.
    Dead end jobs yes….and they’re not so dumb as to miss the writing on the Wall – that their Public Servants – aren’t Serving at all.

    A few quotes from Uncle Tom…

    “When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end to Liberty.” George Mason

    “Liberty has never come from Government. It has always come from the subjects of Government. The history of Liberty is the history of resistance.” Woodrow Wilson

    “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned yesterday if the national jobs crisis doesn’t end soon, the United States would see riots in the streets.”

  13. They’re different then I was when I were a yewf, sure, but not worse.

    The first time I enrolled to vote, I remember I really looked forward to spoiling my voting paper because in the previous election the Evening Post had published the number of spoiled votes and I thought it’d be a good protest against idiot parties. And I did, and they didn’t publish them that year, which I found very annoying.

    maybe they have figured out something that we old-timers haven’t; that there are no credible parties with a chance of forming a government (or a influential chunk of one) for whom to vote.

    I know it exists, but this is a kind of attitude that I’ve really never understood simply because there’s a lot more to parliament than always being in government and any votes and extra representation helps a party in future elections, and sometimes things just take longer to change than anyone wants. Not to mention that the “I can’t be bothered voting” attitude is a near guarantee of being largely ignored by some political parties, as pathetic as that is.

    The “I’m not voting because they’re all idiots” line also doesn’t convince me, maybe because I’m convinced that even if there’s a lot of idiocy and disorganisation at times, not all of our MPs, candidates and political parties are idiots and it’s people who put MPs in place. If this stream of non-voters want to get up and loudly proclaim that they’re not voting because the rest of the voting population are idiots, I think it’d be a more appropriate statement. I guess sometimes people say this to make an impression among friends and peers, or something like that, because it’s so much easier and more instantly gratifying to point and laugh at the TV than to risk people challenging political views and have to acknowledge that we’re in a country of 4 million+ people who largely think very differently about how things should work. Some of our population are verifiably insane and I think more than a few of them end up in the ACT Party, but we live with those people too, and sometimes everyone has to compromise.

    Maybe I’m just too old to understand, but I’m hardly a geriatric.

  14. buckly..you are a person standing with yr hand over one eye..saying ‘i have seen/am seeing everything’..

    “..there are no credible parties with a chance of forming a government (or a influential chunk of one) for whom to vote…”

    i repeat…cd u go and have a look at the mana party policies…

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/comment-whoar-bloody-hell-how-about-that-mana-party-policy-eh/

    ..i think you’d have to say..they are ‘credible’/different to the rest of the current crop…

    ..and if you disagree..cd u come back and tell me how/why..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  15. Kathryn M:

    Why does everyone with persist with this ridiculous notion that the youth of today are somehow worse than ever. To be perfectly frank, as a youth of today, I’m sick of it.

    I dont think the youth of today are “worse”, far from it. They’re different then I was when I were a yewf, sure, but not worse.

    And as I noted, maybe they have figured out something that we old-timers haven’t; that there are no credible parties with a chance of forming a government (or a influential chunk of one) for whom to vote.

  16. They feel disenfranchised in too many ways….money, cars, respect (JOBS!!!)
    I caught the bus through the back blocks of my Provincial Town recently – Public Housing for miles – no shops – the Bus comes by every two hours or so and not at all on weekends….all that needs to happen is to place the nearest Voting Booth far enough away and most of them couldn’t make it.
    The Greens should organize a Bus for ‘em.
    Without Transport – things get just too darn hard!

  17. Thanks for the responses, everyone. Mark, I agree that the Police seem to be in a class of their own. I know a lot of police officers are out there doing their best and doing it really well, but as an organisation it’s not one that I’m proud of. The lifting of suppression on the Urewera ruling yesterday which now shows blatant disregard for illegality of gathering evidence, just confirms that it’s still going on.

    Anyway, trying to look at these young non-voter claims analytically…. Let’s assume most young people who don’t enrol decide not to do so because they dislike and don’t trust the system, as has been said here. For what reason is it that most people do seem to enrol regardless when they get older?

    Is it because people gradually change their mind about the system as they get older? Or do people develop some other benefit in voting when they get older that makes enrolment worthwhile? Or are we about to see a phase over the next few years where non-enrollers get older? Or are young non-enrollers all heading overseas to be replaced by immigrants who enrol and vote once they arrive? Or have I misinterpreted the figures and put up a straw man about older demographics being more enrolled than younger demographics?

    As a side note, are young people disproportionately afraid of jury duty selection, or anything like that?

  18. History suggests that Such people are not left a choice Shaun
    In my workplace, we had an Army Colonel take over our accounts…why?
    Because he was on the same pay scale
    His work in the Accounts Department was criminally negligent
    But he had the ability to shout everyone else down
    Except me. who refused his General Meetings on account of some damage control or other.

  19. MikeM: Unfortunately it’s near impossible without a proper alternative having been set up and ready to go, widespread awareness, and mobilisation of the people en masse. The top dogs absolutely will not give up their power just like that, even if it were for the better.

  20. “..How would this be accomplished?..”

    well..we are very fortunate here that we have m.m.p..

    ..we can have revolutions at the ballot-box..(thanks to m.m.p..)

    ..and this is an option denied most..

    ..and we have not yet had a true m.m.p-govt…

    ..we have just had versions of f.p.p..with a tail or two..

    ..but this election we could do it…

    ..i wd urge those cynical with all politicians/parties to go and look at the mana-movement/party policies..

    ..(all on one page..with drop-downs/bullet-points..not screeds..)

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/comment-whoar-bloody-hell-how-about-that-mana-party-policy-eh/

    there you will see policies that could well surprise you..

    ..they indicate a new direction/new possibilities/priorities for this country..

    ..and i am picking many/most of these policies will resound with many…

    ..now..if labour holds its’ own..

    ..and the greens do as well as expected..(i’m picking post-ten percent..)

    ..and if mana are efficient/effective in getting their messages out…

    ..(as i don’t doubt they will be…bradford against bennet..competing for the party-vote..will make for very interesting public-meetings..

    ..something/some theatre to look forward to…eh..?..)

    ..and i repeat the observation from harawira as the potential vote-catch for a party of new ideas/policies..

    ..ideas/policies..amongst other things..targetting the ending of the vile/abysmal levels of poverty many labour under…

    ..harawira said that ‘if all the poor vote for us..we will get half the seats…’

    ..and even the history of the maori-vote is more grist to the mana-mill…

    ..that electorate has a history of swinging wildly..

    ..and of a keeness to try the new..

    ..and at the moment the mana party is the party on offer..

    ..(some small victories to one side..the maori party having largely failed in their task…

    ..maori poverty/dire-stats have exploded under key/national..)

    ..this all leads me to believe that the mana movement/party will do much better than most pundits say..

    ..and keep in mind that hone hrawira ias on the record as saying the first phone-call he will be making on election-night..

    ..will be to the green party..

    ..(to propose a deal to negotiate as a bloc..at the very least..one could presume..)

    ..and you can see how we could very easily have our very first real m.m.p. government..

    ..wouldn’t that be nice..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  21. Hi MikeM; Sounds as though we’ve had similar experiences then.
    The Auditor General found nothing wrong because, at the highest Levels Operational budgets are quite complicated and specialised – you’d need to spend two years there to pick up the threads.

    But having the Grand Poo-Baa in Melbourne casually announce that $80million went missing overnight, and could we all please try and find it, was a bit de-moralising.

    But yes; Australia affords an Upper and Lower House in every State, as well as a Federal Upper and Lower House – this turns Govt. there into something of a Bureaucratic Maze compared to NZ.

    Plus the Unions there are far more Militant than any I’ve seen in modern NZ. So the clash seems always front and centre.

    However returning to NZ and realizing that a guy like Clint Rickards could be in charge of the Auckland Police was nothing short of dazzling.
    And a Govt. Minister involved in that whole suspect Winebox affair….I got the strong impression that anything goes here.

    Numerous experiences have only strengthened this impression.

    I was paid @ 30 x the minimum wage with an extra 26% going into a Super fund(which I matched tax-free) – there were 300 people at HQ on the same deal who had no job – but we weren’t allowed to sack – they remained on permanent paid holiday – talk about waste….(people had to remind me to take my Rostered Days off).

    Then one of the Warehouses decided they needed a forklift…..I well remember a Colleague saying “I bought fifty of them last year, none of them have been used, but I can’t remember where I put them. Go buy a few more….”

    By those standards NZ is indeed lean and mean – my complaint is that we are inefficient, lazy, corrupt (not all, remember) – and the waste is horrendous.

    Having worked in the Private Sector most of my life, I can honestly say – by Those Standards, I would be obliged to sack @80% of PS Staff to avoid sheer negligence on my own part.

    “I don’t care they can’t Sack me” was a catch-cry among the worst of these.

    Anyway to return to Voting issues – the poor and the young (all of whom we need) don’t Vote as a Rule – a concept that still drives people like my Father (who went thru World Wars, a Depression, the Fight for Workers Rights) into wordless frustration – I have to remind him to breathe at times!
    Regards
    Mark

  22. Shaun: Myself and many people I know don’t vote, because we don’t like the actual political system itself. We desire a total political revision, changing to a system where decision makers are actually qualified and not just rich *cough*JohnKey*cough*, where policies are reversible, and where these people are actually accountable.

    How would this be accomplished?

  23. Hi @Mark. During the past couple of years I’ve gone from working in the New Zealand public service to working in an Australian private company whose main clients are Australian government entities (all of local, state and federal), and I tend to agree on that front. I know my direct experience is narrow, but I’ve already encountered a lot more people over here who seem to justify the stereotype of public servants being inefficient or sometimes incompetent than I ever dealt with in New Zealand, where the people tended to be good at and care about what they were doing and actually see themselves as being in the public eye the whole time, with few exceptions. To be clear, the Australian Public Service also has some brilliant people, but to me it seems easier for slackness and layers of bureaucracy to slide into the system somehow. As much as I think unions can be beneficial and are often important, nearly everything here feels very inefficiently unionised in all directions, and I don’t know if that has something to do with it. My wife works in the federal public service, where (at least in her section) the union’s somehow bargained what seems like an amazing amount of extra holidays than anyone else gets. They’re also getting something like 15% employer superannuation contribution on top of salaries instead of the legal minimum of 9%, and I keep hearing about how the computer systems are broken so she can’t do any work, and the organisation doesn’t seem to care that it’s paying people around the country tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit there and do nothing, because they can’t. Maybe that’s exaggeration. It’s just how things work here and people put up with it because they think it’ll never change.

    Sam’s correct to point out that the Transparency International index only measures perceptions of corruption. Also when you look at the 6 studies that have been compiled to create New Zealand’s score, it’s mostly surveys of international experts in business and economics who are comparing the likeliness of encountering corrupt officials. It’s probably not measuring things like perception of police corruption from the streets.

    Generally speaking though, I think we’re very lucky with the public service in New Zealand when you look at the crap that the rest of the world puts up with. Probably I’m biased because I’ve worked in it and actually happened to care about the quality and effectiveness of my work and other people’s work, and saw other people doing the same. But I was also given good reasons and incentives to do so.

  24. Having compared the stat’s for previous years with my (admittedly shaky) recollections of campaigning stalls during those years, I do remember a time when we could put voter enrolling info out each week, and need to top up our supplies of forms – students and shoppers all grabbing our forms.
    Alas, that was around 2002. There has been a build-up of desperation and cynicism among young people I know since that time, and I’ve seen a lot of motivated people move away from the traditional campus political groups, into the fringes, simply because the issues that most matter to them are not progressing through the main parties.

    That hasn’t all been bad; Unite! is mostly run by a bunch of young union activists (ok, and Matt McCarten…) who were disillusioned by Labour and got out and started signing up young workers to the new union movement. Particularly in Auckland, they have made great strides with the MECA contracts in the fast-food franchises, and in minimum-wage distribution and retail jobs.

    Labour did nothing for workers in those areas; Mana is likely to pick up voters this year, out of young workers who will never go near a campus, because they’ve had a pay rise over the past 3 years, that they fought for themselves.

    So far, I’ve seen dismal polling from all the main agencies. They are not coming to terms with the realities of life for low-income households, where a cellphone is a necessity ‘cos employers insist on running casualised random rosters, so in effect, if you don’t answer the call, you miss out on work. This often means, by corollory, no landline, and no computer access at home.
    If polling is done based on internet media polls (Fairfax, APN) or telephone-calling campaigns (most other pollsters, who get thick lists of numbers ‘anonymised’ from the Telco’s), then the polling is skewed to represent the assumptions of – and it under-represents the unemplyed, the young and the low-income households.

    There is an argument there for incompetance, or my favoured argument, that the media polls are trying to lead formation of opinion, not reflect it.

    I don’t think that young people are much less motivated than before; but they are very disheartened, especially with the way this Government has spent it’s term cutting jobs, reducing places in tertiary education, cutting night classes (where many get the ‘leg up’ to go back as adult students for a second chance education), and generally showing that they think old people, who’ve been voting the same way for years, are the only important demographic.

    Be nice to your kids – they’ll choose your nursing home.
    Or, in our case, take a flight out of NZ to get a job somewhere that pays decently, and fail to be here, paying taxes & running the country, when the baby boomers finally move en masse into retirement villages, and start screeching for cleaners, nurses, doctors, therapists and so on to attend to them in their homes. Employers have a choice – create jobs, keep young people here an din work; or just keep the status quo going, shipping profits and dividends out of the country to overseas investors, while our young people quietly decide citizenship here is not worth it.

  25. Fair Enough MikeM; I’ve only worked the top floors in the OZ Public Service. Am not familiar with NZ’s case much beyond hearsay – though some of the Servants I have dealt with here have been virtually unemployable.

    The only point I would underline is that this is where real Power is concentrated and ongoing.

    Certainly when the Auditor General came through our Offices – I had people turning white and sliding under their desks.
    There were glaring shortcomings, hundreds of millions of dollars missing.
    The AD discovered nothing – gave us a clean bill of fiscal health (no one would believe it for a while).
    So Certificates of Rectitude don’t do a lot for me I’m afraid – but I would be careful about making generalizations and certainly wouldn’t want to slur honest loyal and motivated employees – of which we had a few.
    The system itself was broken, and the room for corruption endemic….I couldn’t wait to leave for the Private Sector.
    Inefficiency is a frustration in itself.

  26. In my opinion it is essential that young people vote. I really can`t understand the political querulousness.

    Vote! Vote! Vote!

    @bjchip
    You`re right but those people usally come with the people you voted for! So don`t bother to much!

  27. “..our public service wouldn’t be considered first equal on the list of least corrupted public services in the world.”

    Actually Transparency International don’t measure corruption – they measure perceptions of corruption.

    New Zealanders tend to assume we have little corruption – which is probably mostly the case – but our rating is very high simply because of the attitude that if somebody’s mate, brother-in-law or whatever, gets a plum job or contract, or some top dog gets off a criminal charge, it must be alright, because we don’t have corruption in NZ, do we?

  28. I enrolled and voted when I was 18.

    Then I grew up, learned a few things, left my foolish teenage years behind and never, ever, made that mistake again.

    I voted Labour, and got Rogernomics. Sorry everyone.

  29. To say it simply, it is because people do not see the government as putting their interests first. Government is more concerned with the interests of foreign big business than with the rights and freedoms of the people of New Zealand. With the exception of one person, nobody I know thinks that the CIFSA was the right thing to do. The common story is that the reason it was passed into law in the first place was because of American big business lobbying the New Zealand government. That is just one example (though a particularly relevant one since we’re discussing this on the internet) of many which are available.

    I’m 30 years old, and I will definitely be voting. But at this point in time, the main reason I am voting is because I am trying to keep the worst of a set of terrible options out of the seat of power. Having spoken with people in my Parent’s generation, many of them say the same thing. I think it would be interesting to know what proportion of the population feel that way about voting. If people my age and older have such a cynical sense of politics and government in this country then it is little wonder that younger people might be disillusioned to the point of not participating.

    I would argue that for many people, a vote for a particular political party doesn’t actually imply support or enthusiasm for that political party. Rather it seems plausible that what may be implied is merely a desire to keep some other political party or parties out of power. Thus, it might be the case that many votes are actually based on negative confidence for some options rather than positive confidence for the selected option.

    If it is the case that a sizeable proportion of the population are voting on the basis of this kind of negative confidence then I would also say that it may be the case that the whole governmental structure and system of representation may be in dire need of restructuring. If you want youth to be actively involved in the democratic process then I say you need a democratic process which inspires participation through positive confidence rather than through negative confidence.

    If you want to inspire this sort of positive confidence in government then I think politicians are going to need to start recognising the fact that in the internet age where social media has given everyone the ability to be their own voice there is very little realistic requirement for the concentration of power in the hands of a few representatives any more. If government want the approval of today’s youth then it may be the case that politicians will have to start relinquishing some, maybe even a lot, of their power and allowing the public to use social media for the purposes of self government. We may be rapidly approaching a state of affairs in which the traditional notion of a government could potentially be completely obsolete $0.02

  30. Myself and many people I know don’t vote, because we don’t like the actual political system itself. We desire a total political revision, changing to a system where decision makers are actually qualified and not just rich *cough*JohnKey*cough*, where policies are reversible, and where these people are actually accountable.

    Presently, voting in New Zealand is akin to “would you rather eat poos, or crap?”, neither are very tasty or beneficial.

  31. There is the small but important detail that people eligible to vote are legally required to enrol, although they are not required to actually vote. Therefore that is a significant fraction of the population that are ignoring a legal requirement.

    Kathryn M – the comments here (other than Gareth’s) are from various people with an interest in Green Party politics, not necessarily Green Party representatives, members or even supporters. I suggest you base your voting decision on the Green Party policies and positions taken by the MPs and not ideas expressed here (except mine of course :) ).

    Trevor.

  32. Mark: The unelected Public Servants are career Rulers and whilst Governments come and go they remain; integrated and powerfull.

    Really? Because you’d think if elections were always required for accountability and transparency, our public service wouldn’t be considered first equal on the list of least corrupted public services in the world.

    For me at least, being listed by Transparency International alongside Denmark and Singapore is a great deal, especially given New Zealand’s Public Service has held a ranking of first in the world or not far off for at least the better part of the last decade.

  33. I think you need to market this to the Electoral Enrolment Centre, Gareth. Bless their little orange man, but ironic memes are what Gen Y crave.

  34. Why does everyone with persist with this ridiculous notion that the youth of today are somehow worse than ever. To be perfectly frank, as a youth of today, I’m sick of it.
    The statistics you’ve provided of elections past show no real relative trend either up or down and it is a statistical failure to use current data when we are still over two months out from the election and yet to hit the bulk of any “Enrol to Vote” campaign.

    As someone who previously thought you to truly represent youth and actually understand that this type of rubbish was happening, I’m dissapointed. Even more dissapointed by the tirade of abuse from previous comments. (“What has changed? Laziness, “don’t care, doesn’t bother me” attitude.” BTW if I ever sound as bigoted as that, slap me.)

    I’m sorry to sound bitter, but you’ve lost my vote.

  35. turnip28: You think its bad in NZ look at the US where nobody votes i mean 50% voter turnout would be considered good.

    Does anyone know if this kind of figure is mirrored at the more local levels, like state politics? I’ve often wondered if being a voter in the US voting for President would be on a similar order of magnitude to a New Zealander trying to vote for a World President. It’d be so abstracted from daily life that I don’t think I’d bother, either.

    Correct or not, in New Zealand I actually have the impression that I can have some kind of influence on things if I decide I want to, even if it’s just being listened to or knowing my opinion’s been read.

  36. I have a nephew who told me he couldn’t be bothered voting, because it doesn’t effect him.. everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course.. but this really worries me. When I turned 18 I couldn’t wait to get enrolled & out to vote, to hopefully make a difference.
    My real concern is that the 20+% who dont vote, could well be the real reason why the Nats are ahead in the polls. Stats show that wealthiest people also are the highest percentage of voters.. they tend to vote : right-wing.
    Apathy is a social illness & unfortunately seems incurable !
    Kia-ora

  37. You think its bad in NZ look at the US where nobody votes i mean 50% voter turnout would be considered good. Of course in the US you have ZERO choice look at Obama he has adopted a policy platform that is the same as Bush yet during the election he promised all these people that he would be different.

    The US is the perfection of the One party state as long as people have the Illusion they are free and that choice exists then they will go along with it.

  38. how old are you rimu..?

    i am encouraged by the fact i suggested to ‘the boy’ that he go have a look at the mana party policies..(for something promising something different..)

    ..i was somewhat taken aback (and chuffed)when he told me he already had..

    ..as part of the efforts of him/his friends on a facebook page called ‘how to get rid of key’..(or something like that..)..and most of his friends are rich/middleclass kids…

    ..the mana policies had already been evaluated/were known..

    ….have you done that yet..?..there..rimu..?

    (and these ‘unengaged/self-centred young people’ aren’t even old enough to yet vote..)

    i find it is the neo-lib-generation..those now in their late twenties/thirties that are the ‘problem’..

    ..in their minds t.i.n.a..there is no alternative to neo-lib..

    ..they were suckled on it…

    ..is that you rimu..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  39. ‘The youth’ do not enrol because they do not feel that any of the available political parties represent their values and attitudes.

    They are right.

    But that is not only a failing on the part of the existing political parties. It is also because of the values and attitudes of the youth themselves. There is no youth political party to vote for because their values and attitudes are not those that are conducive to working in a group or running a country – most young people are far too egocentric to work well with others and their is judgement is often based on primitive moral principles. You just can’t form a realistic modern political party when you’re in that stage of personal development.

    I am totally fine with people like that opting out until such time as they care enough about others to participate in democracy once every three years. Care enough about our country and the people who live in it to want to make it a better place, so much so that you take 10 minutes out of your weekend once every three years. It’s not a high bar that I’m setting, here!

  40. “local politics here is great, as MPs are accessible”

    I’ve found opposition MPs very easy to access, government MPs much harder. Still much more accessible compared to most countries, but access doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference when it comes to actually changing anything or getting governments to be responsive to the public.

  41. The unelected Public Servants are career Rulers and whilst Governments come and go they remain; integrated and powerfull.
    Their Union has never had to Strike – no Government has ever stood up to them.

  42. Perhaps gareth ought to reflect on why “a third of 18–24-year-olds and a fifth of 25–29-year-olds are not enrolled to vote in the upcoming election”

    If I was claiming to represent people, and seeking their support, I’d be wondering why my message was so obvilious and irrelevant to them that so many dont even care – let alone object.

    These numbers actually say that the main political parties (inc Greens) are off message and not connecting with the community.

  43. Yeah Mike, local politics here is great, as MPs are accessible, and do seem to consider themselves to be part of the community they are elected to serve. However, when they get on the bus / boat / plane / car to go back to Wellington, they are subject to party mandatory behaviour.

    It’s true that things change, but whatever one hand gives the other hand takes away. I want a party that does things entirely better (ie no harmful or bad policies or behaviours) and even with approximate centerist politics which we have today, these parties continue to bang their ideological drum to the detriment of the country.

    Perhaps things were better when we had rabid left and right parties and governments; at least it was abundantly clear who would end up shafted!

  44. Meet the new boss. The same as the old boss.

    I’ve had this impression looking at large democracies, like the US Federal as a prime example. No matter who people vote for, nothing changes because there’s so much established crap and slow-moving bureaucracy full of giant conflicting interests in different regions.

    I’ve rarely had that feeling in New Zealand. It’s relatively easy for most people to actually talk directly to their local MP if they actually want to, and when a government changes it’s often easy to actually see things changing. Maybe that’s just me.

  45. Not Bad db; I grew up in a home where not voting was considered an insult to my duties and privelidges.

    Governments will do whatever the Majority want.
    Thus discussions about Nuclear Ships is off the table.

    Muldoon researched the fact that the ’81 Springbok Tour would lose him more votes if he stopped it – ce ca.

    What concerns me most about eligible voters not voting is that they are all from the same socio-economic class.
    What we term the ‘lower’ class – the very people who could effect change are too cynical and disillusioned to even try.

    I think they are encouraged in that belief in a whole host of ways.

  46. Perhaps the youth have figured out that there is actually no point in voting.

    Because there are no credible parties to vote for.

    No parties with a plan that wont actually make maters worse.

    Meet the new boss. The same as the old boss.

    Perhaps the youth have got the jump on us who are non-youthed.

  47. Rather disturbing, I take pride in voting. What has changed? Laziness, “don’t care, doesn’t bother me” attitude. Youth will one day turn around and accuse government of not representing their needs…But who’s fault is it when they don’t participate nor at least register to vote.

  48. It is important young Kiwis are involved in the political process. They are the future and have a stake in our society. And it’s equally important that they don’t make the mistake of believing that voting for a political party is the most important way to be involved in shaping the future of our society.

    Not only is it irresponsible to vote – as it requires one to give power to somebody that one then has absolutely no sanction over for three years (the equivalent of employing somebody on a three-year contract that stipulates that they cannot be sacked regardless of performance, behaviour or output) – it is also inneffective, as political parties are disturblingly innefficient in terms of the human energy they require to produce social change, particularly when compared to grassroots movements.

  49. The Electoral Commission does do a fantastic job of ramping up enrolments before elections. However, it may be time that a dedicated amount was budgeted for youth focussed enrolment programs to be rolled out. This isn’t just about putting stalls up on university campuses, it’s about getting to the working youth and the young people who are out of work as well.

    Hi Gareth. I agree in principle that more young people should be enrolled and voting, but shouldn’t it be up to the more independent Electoral Commission to decide the best mechanism to achieve a state of close-to everyone being enrolled, and at least make clear and justified and weighted recommendations before anything’s budgeted? Granted that I’m assuming this, and haven’t looked at what’s written into law.

    When political parties get involved, we start to run into issues of parties targeting the people they think are most likely to vote for them, which to me is a very bad precedent that I’ve personally despised when I’ve seen it occur in other places. Not that it doesn’t happen to a degree already, and I’m sure it does. I just don’t think political parties should be getting directly involved in electoral roll recruitment processes, certainly not in a way where conflicts of interest could be construed such as by (for example) targeting younger potential voters.

  50. I believe one of the biggest reasons us youth chose not to enroll is because we’re disillusioned with government in general, apart from a few outstanding individuals (like yourself Gareth) we (speaking for myself and my friends who I have discussed this with) feel that it just doesn’t make a difference.

    No political party really seems interested in serving the people; I can’t remember the last time I felt everyday New Zealanders were actually consulted on a major issue and their opinions were taken seriously. Every political party seems to be out there purely to serve the agendas of their own members and their ‘investors’.

    This whole mindset leads to us feeling powerless, that no matter what party gets in we’re not going to be listened to and when you’re in that headspace what’s the point in voting? I’m not saying that we’re right, I’m just saying that’s what my friends and I feel at this point and time, and until a party truly shows that they’re in this for everyday New Zealanders and not self serving agendas there doesn’t seem to be a point, and at this current point in time, there doesn’t seem to be a party that fit the bill, not even the Greens…

  51. Maybe the system needs to change to be more inclusive? Some sort of motor-voter system where you get enrolled when you acquire or renew a drivers license (subject to age and residence, which could be tracked).

    Then you could just go to a polling station, show your license and vote. (The traditional system could be kept alive for non-drivers and those that prefer it).

  52. “if they’re really lazy you can print out this PDF and leave it conveniently placed”

    Ha! The Greens seem to often be criticised for residing in la-la land, but I’m loving the realism displayed here! Mind you, I’m only going on the behaviour of my 15 year-old son who I worry would not rouse himself from a burning building!

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