City res­i­dents lag­ging on elec­toral en­roll­ment

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JONO GALUSZKA

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.

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