Candidates seek digital approach
It’s time for New Zealand to welcome online voting, says a group of aspiring young politicians.
National Party’s Simeon Brown, 26, Labour’s Jesse Pabla, 22, and Green Party’s Julie Zhu, 24, all agree being able to vote online would get more young people engaged in elections.
The three candidates are vying for Auckland seats in the upcoming general election, and shared their views about youth voting in a panel discussion with Manukau Courier.
Running for the Pakuranga electorate, Brown says the electoral commission does a lot to encourage people to vote but there’s always more that can be done.
‘‘I think online voting is a sensible way forward to help ensure there’s more choice in how you do vote,’’ Brown says.
Zhu, who’s contesting the Botany seat, says there needs to be a lot more education about how to strategically make the most of your vote. Moving towards online voting would make it more accessible for young people, she says.
‘‘I think it is really daunting for anyone whether you’re young or old or if English is a barrier for you, to read all the policies, which are quite dense,’’ Zhu says.
Pabla says online voting is an easier option for people than having to travel to a polling booth, particularly if they don’t have transport.
The Papakura candidate says a lot of his friends want to vote but don’t know how to do it, and more education is needed.
‘‘They do want to make a change but sometimes they’re just not educated,’’ Pabla says.
Brown has been involved in politics since he was in high school, and was the deputy chair of the Manurewa Local Board from 2013 to 2016. The commercial banker ran for the Manurewa seat in the 2014 election, losing to Labour’s Louisa Wall.
At number 54 on the Labour list, it’s Pabla’s first time running and voting in an election, despite being a member of the party for six years. He grew up in Papakura and his family’s been involved with Labour for most of his life.
Filmmaker Zhu joined the Green Party during the last elec- tion, and ran her first campaign last year in the local body elections. Originally from China, she is also a member of Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga.
Housing, education, and transport are some of the key election issues the candidates say young voters care about, and most young adults they know are politically engaged.
‘‘I think there’s a lot of young people who do take a really keen interest and I encourage young people I come across who do show an interest to get involved,’’ Brown says.
Coming from an activist background, Zhu says there are a lot of young people who are engaged in politics, but not necessarily attached to a political party.
‘‘I think online voting is a sensible way forward to help ensure there's more choice in how you do vote. ’’
Green Party candidate Julie Zhu, 24, (Botany), National Party candidate Simeon Brown, 26, (Pakuranga) and Labour Party candidate Jesse Pabla, 22, (Papakura).