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No excuse not to cast an informed vote

MEDIA RELEASE

MAXIM INSTITUTE

16 September 2005

No excuse not to cast an informed vote

Maxim Institute expects a strong voter turnout tomorrow and a decrease in discarded votes following an extensive nationwide campaign to inform voters, involving; organising 29 first-rate Political Forums, developing an informative and exciting website (www.nzvotes.org) and producing 500 free DVDs on MMP.

"Maxim's key message to voters has always been; know what you are voting for and make your vote count. We didn't want a repeat of last election, where over 99,000 votes were discarded", says Maxim Institute Managing Director, Greg Fleming.

"The purpose of Maxim's involvement in this election was to encourage interest in democracy at the grass-roots and ensure that voters had access to timely and accurate information - as democracy depends on it", says Greg Fleming.

Over half a million page views on nzvotes.org

With voters increasingly looking to the internet for information, nzvotes.org was developed to be a one stop shop for voters, offering objective information and not pushing any political agenda.

Specially developed school resources have been helpful to many teachers in preparing lesson plans on civics and democracy and the newly added rolling polls feature makes nzvotes.org a one of a kind website for voters.

29 Political Forums attracted 54 MPs and over 6,000 voters

Over 6,200 people attended the 29 Maxim Institute Political Forums. From the 70 people in Dargaville who turned up while a major tri-nations match was in play, to the 800 people who filled the Epsom debate, there has been great enthusiasm from the public. Questions from the audience probed a range of topics and generated some interesting answers, ensuring the events were entertaining and informative.

54 MPs and 53 candidates took part, including many high profile MPs such as the Hon Steve Maharey, Hon Bill English, John Tamihere, Nandor Tanczos and Rodney Hide.

500 information videos on MMP distributed nationwide

Maxim Institute, with the help of Family Television Network, developed a three minute DVD explaining MMP, to encourage people to make sure their vote is not discarded. 500 DVDs have been distributed to churches and community groups nationwide free of charge.

"Maxim Institute is not affiliated with any political party or religious group, but we have valued the opportunity to build relationship with many MPs and aspiring politicians throughout their campaigns", says Greg Fleming.

ENDS

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