Rangitata one of the best for youth enrolments
With one week to go until election day, data has revealed the Rangitata and Waitaki electorates have some of the highest rates of youth enrolment in New Zealand.
As of September 12, 80.23 per cent of eligible voters aged between 18 and 24 had enrolled to vote in Rangitata, significantly higher than the national figure of 67.47 per cent.
Rangitata also had a marginally higher percentage overall of voters enrolled than the national figure - 89.77 per cent versus 89.69. The Waitaki electorate had youth enrolments at 85.86 per cent. Registrar of Electors Gisela Craig said the electoral office in Timaru looked after both Rangitata and Waitaki.
Craig said it would be safe to say Rangitata had one of the highest rates for youth enrolment in the country.
‘‘Rangitata has always had high enrolments ... same with Waitaki,’’ Craig said. Craig believed Rangitata’s rate of enrolment was because it was a farming area, and it had a high number of long estab- lished businesses. The electoral office had put a lot of hard work into promoting enrolling and voting to youths in the Waitaki electorate, including both Oamaru and Waimate.
When looking at figures for enrolments within the Waimate District Council boundary, the number was up by about 20 per cent on the previous six months, Craig said.
The number of enrolments for those in the 18 - 24 age bracket was at 82.59 per cent as of September 12. ‘‘That number has definitely risen,’’ she said. ‘‘We have actually put a lot of effort into this.’’
The electoral office staff had liaised with a number of youth groups in Oamaru to promote enrolling and voting, she said.
Craig said the message would filter down from people who were engaged in politics to their peers who might be less engaged.
Craig said when she had a look through a few electorates at youth enrolments figures, she saw they ranged between 50 and 70 per cent.
Mountainview High School head boy Blake Steel, 17, said the build up to the election had been like a ‘‘roller coaster’’ which might have captivated everyone’s attention, and could be behind the high youth enrolments.
The Opportunities Party candidate Olly Wilson, National candidate Andrew Falloon and Labour candidate Jo Luxton each visited Mountainview and spoke about their policies, he said. ‘‘I think they definitely sparked some interest.’’
While he was not yet eligible to vote, missing out by a few days as his birthday was in October, he said he was interested in politics and followed the news. ‘‘If I could vote I definitely would.’’
Rangitata and Waitaki electorates both have high numbers of youth enrolled when compared with other areas of New Zealand.