Get­ting youth on a roll

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

With his sights set on a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, sign­ing up to the elec­toral roll was the first step for Tama Toki.

The Auck­land Gram­mar head pre­fect was one of about 400 year 13 stu­dents to en­rol when staff from the Elec­toral Of­fice vis­ited.

Al­though Tama, 17, won’t be old enough to vote in this year’s elec­tion, he’s look­ing for­ward to hav­ing his say in the next one.

“It’s im­por­tant to get in­volved. I would like to pur­sue pol­i­tics when I’m older.”

His par­ents are on the Maori elec­toral role and are also in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics, which helps fuel his in­ter­est.

Elec­toral Of­fice staff visit about 50 schools in cen­tral and west Auck­land each year, talk­ing to stu­dents and sign­ing them up on the role.

“It’s quite well known if peo­ple don’t en­gage when they are 18 and vote in the first elec­tion they can, they tend to con­tinue not to en­gage in adult life,” says regis­trar of elec­tors Sharon Reece.

She says the Elec­toral Of­fice usu­ally has a good re­sponse from schools.

“We try to get them to see how pol­i­tics does af­fect them.”

The cen­tral Auck­land elec­torate has the low­est en­rol­ment num­bers in the coun­try for peo­ple aged be­tween 18 and 30.

En­rol by phon­ing 0800367-656, tex­ting name and ad­dress to 3676, visit­ing www.elec­tions. org.nz or visit­ing PostShops.

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