Reg­is­trars out to bat­tle voter ap­a­thy

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

A date for this year’s gen­eral elec­tion hasn’t been set, but that hasn’t stopped the start of a cam­paign en­cour­ag­ing Auck­lan­ders to get en­rolled to vote.

Four of Auck­land’s elec­toral reg­is­trars stepped up Auck­land’s Sky Tower in sig­na­ture orange out­fits last week to launch the cam­paign and en­cour­age lo­cals to get en­rolled.

“The Auck­land cen­tral elec­torate is the least en­rolled in the coun­try,” says elec­toral regis­trar and out­reach co­or­di­na­tor Sharon Reece.

“And only 77 per­cent of Auck­land’s pop­u­la­tion is en­rolled to vote, com­pared with the New Zealand av­er­age of 92 per­cent,” she says.

Cen­tral Auck­land res­i­dents aged be­tween 18 and 24 are par­tic­u­larly poorly rep­re­sented with only 37 per­cent en­rolled com­pared with the na­tional av­er­age of 70 per­cent for the same age group.

Re­search by the Elec­toral En­rol­ment Cen­tre also shows that only half of Auck­land’s Maori, Pa­cific Is­land and Asian com­mu­ni­ties are even aware that a gen­eral elec­tion is tak­ing place this year.

“For young peo­ple it’s ap­a­thy,” says Ms Reece.

“For Maori and Pa­cific Is­land com­mu­ni­ties with low in­comes, there’s a lack of in­volve­ment and un­der­stand­ing.

“There’s no con­nec­tion with gov­ern­ment as it’s not on a per­sonal level and they don’t re­alise how im­por­tant their opin­ion is.”

The push to get peo­ple ready to vote be­gins with posties de­liv­er­ing 287,645 en­rol­ment up­date packs this week.

The pack will tell res­i­dents which elec­torates in Auck­land they are en­rolled in.

“Peo­ple who don’t re­ceive a pack are not cor­rectly en­rolled to vote,” says Ms Reece.

“It doesn’t hap­pen au­to­mat­i­cally when you move or turn 18 or be­come el­i­gi­ble.”

If you are el­i­gi­ble to vote and a pack does not ar­rive by the end of this week you will need to en­rol.

To en­rol, visit a Post­Shop and fill out a form, free-text your name and ad­dress to 3637 or freecall 0800 ENROLNOW (0800-367-656).

– Carly Tawhiao is an AUT jour­nal­ism stu­dent

En­rol now: Reg­is­trars of Elec­tors step up for a sky-walk, from left: Sharon Reece (Ta­maki Makau­rau), Anne Slarke (Waitakere), Nerony Manoa Tam­a­toa (Ta­maki) and Marama Wil­son (Mt Roskill).

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