Voter turnout appalling - Ross Robertson
Voter turnout appalling -
Newly-elected Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board member Ross Robertson said he is appalled at the low level of voter turnout at this year’s local body elections.
nationwide, particularly in the big cities, should be cause
for a great deal of concern for the leaders of our country,
and for all New Zealanders,” said Ross
“The Auckland War Memorial Museum documents our pioneers’ allegiance to the very best in Greek traditions of democracy, and over the entrance is part of the speech by the great leader of Athens, Pericles, who paid tribute to those who fell in defence of the city. Pericles went on to say that all of those who do not vote – who neglect their duty to add to our social capital by full involvement – are useless indeed,” he said.
“I would not go that far, because I know that all those who have switched off politics in New Zealand are not, as Pericles said, ‘useless’. There must be some basis to their being bemused by politics, and there must be something we can do to discover the reasons for the massive turn-off away from the political process. In our national elections, the astounding fact that ‘Did not vote’ finished third behind National and Labour in 2008 and second to National in 2011 is a real cause for alarm.
“I believe that Civics instruction at high schools should be compulsory education, informing tomorrow’s leaders about the value of democracy and what it cost this country in the loss of lives and the suffering experienced by the generations following World War 2. Freedom of speech, the right to protest, and the right to determine our own future has not come without a cost,” he said.
“Democracy does not just happen, it needs to be worked on, and I call on those responsible to do something about it. Six years ago I made a similar call when I approached then Minister of Education, Hon Steve Maharey, suggesting the inclusion of political literacy in the secondary school curriculum. At that stage the response was a negative one, so I now intend taking the issue up with current Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata, in the hope that the government will see the merit in young people understanding and being involved in the political process,” said Ross Robertson.