What­ever your age, ex­er­cise your right

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS - Mark Boyd

Alot has been writ­ten dur­ing this elec­tion cam­paign about the gen­er­a­tions – mil­len­nial Jacinda Ardern vs baby boomer Bill English; smug oldies in their big houses while the grand­chil­dren can’t af­ford to buy a house; and even older oldies draw­ing a uni­ver­sal pen­sion paid for by taxes on their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Clearly the boomers, mil­len­ni­als and gen­er­a­tions X and Z have dif­fer­ent con­cerns, and tend to vote dif­fer­ently as a re­sult.

De­spite ben­e­fit­ing from the wel­fare state and en­joy­ing free love and pot-smok­ing in their youth (well not all, but a lot of them), many baby boomers are now quite con­ser­va­tive.

Gen X-ers prob­a­bly a lit­tle less so, and the mil­len­ni­als, de­spite never know­ing any­thing but postRoger Dou­glas fis­cal con­ser­vatism, tend to be quite lib­eral.

Elec­toral Com­mis­sion fig­ures show en­rol­ments by un­der-30s are well down on 2014. But if Ardern can in­spire the young to vote, and vote Labour, then this elec­tion could in­deed see a ‘youthquake’.

But would that re­sult mean a gen­er­a­tional change in gov­ern­ment if Labour, pos­si­bly sup­ported by the Greens, won? Short an­swer: yes.

The real busi­ness of gov­ern­ment in New Zealand is de­cided by half a dozen or so se­nior Cab­i­net min­is­ters. Look at the ages of the top six can­di­dates on each party’s list, and you get the pic­ture. The aver­age age of English’s in­ner cir­cle is 54. In Labour, it’s 47.

The only way you’ll see a real oldy in gov­ern­ment is if New Zealand First gets to be the de­cider – led by 72-year-old Win­ston Pe­ters (too old even to be a baby boomer) and his 63-year-old deputy, Ron Mark.

Have your say, ex­er­cise your demo­cratic right, whether you’re a baby boomer or mil­len­nial. You’ll be work­ing for New Zealand.

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