Auck­land mil­len­ni­als less likely to vote

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - CATRIN OWEN

Young peo­ple in cen­tral Auck­land are less likely to vote than any other elec­torate in the coun­try.

The Auck­land cen­tral elec­torate which in­cludes Pon­sonby, Herne Bay, Free­man’s Bay and the Hau­raki Gulf is­lands of Wai­heke and Great Bar­rier, has the low­est en­rol­ment rate out of all gen­eral elec­torates in the coun­try. It also has the low­est en­rol­ment rate for 18 to 24 year olds.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion wants to in­crease the en­rol­ment rate be­fore the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tion in Septem­ber.

De­spite hav­ing the high­est pro­por­tion of peo­ple aged 20 to 29 out of all gen­eral elec­torates in New Zealand, only about 21 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds are en­rolled to vote.

The es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion in the area is about 76,400 and only 51 per cent of those are en­rolled to vote.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s Regis­ter of Elec­tors Jus­tine Welsh said the com­mis­sion wanted young peo­ple to know that their vote counts.

Auck­land Univer­sity Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (AUSA) pres­i­dent Will Matthews said a key is­sue driv­ing the lack of en­rol­ment and vot­ing was ap­a­thy.

Matthews said vot­ing wasn’t a high pri­or­ity for a lot of stu­dents as they had to con­cen­trate on univer­sity stud­ies and work­ing to af­ford to live in Auck­land.

‘‘Stu­dents don’t have time to vote.’’

Welsh said young peo­ple might strug­gle to see the rel­e­vance of vot­ing to their lives, or they did not know who to vote for.

‘‘Your vote is worth ex­actly the same as any­one else’s, not mat­ter how old you are,’’ she said.

This week AUSA will team up with the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to tar­get the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion dur­ing the univer­sity’s pol­i­tics week.

Matthews said the Pol­i­tics Car­ni­val was a fun and en­gag­ing way to get across the im­por­tance of vot­ing to stu­dents.

‘‘The pur­pose is to ex­pose the mes­sage to get vot­ing. We’re not telling them who to vote for but to ex­plore all the par­ties,’’ Matthews said.

Other Auck­land elec­torates had a higher en­rol­ment rate for those aged be­tween 18 to 24 years old. Ep­som had 66 per cent, Maun­gakiekie had 63 per cent, Mt Al­bert had 56 per cent, Mt Roskill had 64 per cent and Ta­maki had 73 per cent voter en­rol­ment for that age bracket.

‘‘Your vote is worth ex­actly the same as any­one else's, not mat­ter how old you are.’’

SI­MON MAUDE/FAIRFAX NZ

The Elec­troal Comis­sion wants to in­crease the youth en­rol­ment rate be­fore the gen­eral elec­tion in Septem­ber.

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