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Voters Left In The Dark

The Government must take full responsibility for the shocking level of public ignorance about how our electoral system works, Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald said today.

"The Government has known for years that awareness amongst voters was low, but it actually turned down our $300,000 Budget bid to provide extra funding for a public education programme."

A survey by the Electoral Commission indicated just two-thirds of voters knew they would get two votes on election day and just over half understood the party vote would decide how many MPs each party would get in Parliament.

"Participation in democracy is the most fundamental right - and responsibility - of New Zealanders," said Rod Donald. "Whether they vote for Green, red, blue or orange-with-purple-spots isn't as important as actually casting that vote.

"By failing to properly fund the Electoral Commission's education campaign the Government is effectively depriving voters of their right to make an informed choice in this election.

"Sadly, but not surprisingly, the survey found understanding of MMP was lowest amongst women, young people, Maori and Pacific Islanders - traditionally the groups with the lowest enrolment and turnout."

Rod Donald has re-submitted his budget bid to Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, requesting urgent additional funding for the Electoral Commission's public education programme.


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