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Kea New Zealand to find missing overseas voters


“Every Vote Counts”: Kea New Zealand to find missing overseas voters

New Zealanders living overseas have been vastly under-represented as voters in past General Elections – and so Kea New Zealand has launched a global campaign to encourage them to vote in this year's election.

“Although at least 600,000 Kiwis live overseas, only 28,000 voted in the 2005 General Election,” says Ivan Moss, CEO of Kea New Zealand. “Our Every Vote Counts campaign will help redress that imbalance by reaching tens of thousands of eligible voters overseas and encouraging them to enrol and vote.”

New Zealand citizens can vote from anywhere in the world if they have visited New Zealand within the previous three years.1

“Our research shows that lack of information contributes to effectively disenfranchising tens of thousands of eligible voters who want to vote, who want a say in the future of their country and ours – a country most of them plan to come back and live in. In our Every One Counts survey of 2006, many people told us of their strong desire to participate in New Zealand general elections, yet lacked information on how to enrol and vote.”

This month, Kea conducted a further survey of its members overseas. It found that:

§                     Over 90% of the overseas respondents are eligible to vote, based on how recently they were in New Zealand.

§                     Almost two-thirds definitely want to vote, and more than 90% are at least interested in voting.

Yet despite these aspirations, in 2005 only 28,000 of an estimated half a million eligible New Zealanders living overseas actually voted.

“Kea is in a unique position to encourage New Zealanders living overseas to vote, and that is what we are going to do,” says Ivan Moss.

The Every Vote Counts campaign is being launched today [editors: Monday 25 August, New Zealand time] with a website, media campaign, an email message to Kea’s 25,000 members in 178 countries, plus promotion among other New Zealand groups, blogs and social networks.

“We encourage New Zealanders at home to tell your friends and family overseas to find out about voting via the Every Vote Counts website, www.everyvotecounts.co.nz,” says Ivan Moss. “Word of mouth is a very important tool in encouraging eligible voters overseas to enrol and vote.”

The focus of the campaign is to encourage overseas New Zealanders to check their eligibility and enrol at the official elections site (www.elections.org.nz). The Every Vote Counts website has other election information and links to the political parties. Subscribers will be reminded of key electoral deadlines to help them remember to vote.

Kea New Zealand (www.keanewzealand.com) is an independent, non-government, non-profit Incorporated Society dedicated to encouraging overseas New Zealanders to maintain and deepen their connections with home.

The Every Vote Counts campaign is strictly non-partisan, and does not advocate that overseas New Zealanders vote for any particular political party or candidate, nor hold or act on any particular political opinion. No public funds are being used to support Every Vote Counts.

1 Non-citizens who hold permanent resident status in New Zealand can vote if they’ve visited New Zealand within the last 12 months.


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