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Innovative website boost for democracy

28 July 2005

Innovative website boost for democracy

A new website http:// http://www.nzvotes.org has been launched to help Kiwi voters make informed decisions at the 2005 election.

It will be a leading election resource, giving voters all the information they need on policy, parties and people, in one place.

As this is the fourth MMP election in this country, many New Zealanders still have an inadequate understanding of our electoral system. This was highlighted in a recent Electoral Commission study that found less than 20 percent of voters could recall two critical facts about MMP.

“The nzvotes.org website is a shot in the arm for democracy in New Zealand. There is a serious lack of general knowledge about our MMP electoral system, so improving access to information will help boost participation,” says Scott McMurray, nzvotes.org Manager.

The Electoral Commission study also found that 77 percent of voters thought information about party policy was important in helping them to decide who to vote for. This makes it the number one factor ahead of news coverage and candidates’ personalities.

McMurray says, “Most New Zealanders are too busy to search in detail for party policy information, so nzvotes.org has done it for them. nzvotes.org is a great resource for voters who don’t want to spend hours sifting through political parties spin and mountains of statements.”

Key sections of nzvotes.org include: a comparison of 10 broad policy areas; a simple guide to MMP and voting; party information; education resources; a campaign diary and news releases; and opinions from guest columnists.

A major feature to be added next week is an electorate section that will profile candidates in every electorate in the country. In their own words, candidates will outline their political background, their interests, and notably where they stand on six conscience issues likely to arise in the next term of parliament.

The website is a non-partisan, non-profit community service provided by the Maxim Institute to inform and equip New Zealand voters. All political content on the site is the views of parties, candidates and guest columnists in their own words.

ENDS

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