City residents lagging on electoral enrollment
City voters are lagging behind other parts of New Zealand when it comes to getting on the electoral roll, but plans are afoot to fix the problem.
Electoral Commission statistics show 87.5 per cent of eligible voters are enrolled. But that figure drops to 83.1 per cent in Palmerston North.
The biggest disparity is in those aged 18 to 24, with 63.6 per cent enrolled nationwide, but only 53.3 per cent enrolled in Palmerston North.
Massey University Students’ Association president Nikita Skipper said young people on campus seemed ‘‘really disengaged’’ from politics.
‘‘There are students who are heavily involved, who go to events and ask questions, but they are the only ones there.
‘‘It’s all about getting those other people.’’
With the general election and student association elections both on this year, the association planned to use the engaged students to get their peers involved through a ‘‘pledge to vote’’ campaign, Skipper said.
Social media was key and the association was planning to use polls and short videos to deliver easily digestible information.
Skipper said the Massey association planned to work with the New Zealand Union of Students’ Association, which launched its enrolment campaign on Monday.
Palmerston North’s enrolment statistics were affected by being a university city, as students who lived here might be enrolled in the electorates they came from, she said.
Otaki, which does not have a university, already has 72.5 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 enrolled.
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said other electorates with universities were in the same situation.
The commission was working on improving electoral engagement among young people through social media, with a big chunk of its advertising budget going towards the likes of Facebook, she said.
The commission would also get to universities, shopping centres and community events to get the message out.
People can update their enrolment details online at elections.org.nz, or by visiting a post shop, calling 0800 36 76 56 or sending a text message to 3676. More information is also available on the I Vote NZ Facebook page.