Ran­gi­tata one of the best for youth en­rol­ments

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - KOREN ALLPRESS

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.’’

PHOTO: KOREN ALLPRESS/STUFF

Ran­gi­tata and Waitaki elec­torates both have high num­bers of youth en­rolled when com­pared with other ar­eas of New Zealand.

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