Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


‘No contest’ election could lead to fewer young voters

‘No contest’ election could lead to fewer young voters


If young people who are newly eligible to vote don’t exercise that right in this year’s election it could lead to them avoiding the ballot box for many years, research shows.

Less than half of the New Zealand population aged between 18 and 30 voted in the last general election. According to Jack Vowles, a professor of comparative politics at Victoria University of Wellington, elections won on wide margins with few policy differences are associated with lower turnout and new voters in particular are less likely to vote when elections are not close.

“This is of concern because international research tells us that voting and non-voting are matters of habit. So if young people who are newly eligible to vote fail to exercise their democratic right because they think it’s a shoe-in for National, as polls are currently indicating, they could easily continue this habit of not voting, even when they might encounter closer elections later in life.”

Professor Vowles is also concerned that people perceive ‘closeness’ in terms of the difference between Labour and National vote intentions, without taking alternative parties into consideration.

“Labour’s recent failure to confirm a potential coalition with the Green Party could play into this misperception, as did the unwillingness of the major party leaders to debate with the leaders of other parties in the 2008 and 2011 campaigns. As a result, many people may underestimate the possible closeness of the 2014 election, much as they did in 2011.”

At a conference yesterday, focused on improving voter turnout in New Zealand and organised by the Electoral Commission, Professor Vowles began a panel discussion on ‘New Zealand’s non-voters and what we know about them’ by presenting the historical statistical trends of voter behaviour in this country.

He says the last period over which voter turnout significantly increased in New Zealand was 1975 to 1984 during Robert Muldoon’s term as Prime Minister, when, after a period of decline, turnout increased dramatically over four successive elections.

“Party membership numbers rose, new parties and new issue dimensions entered politics, and election results were extremely close,” explains Professor Vowles.

“Political parties differed in their promises, and the country was deeply divided on several major issues about which large numbers of people cared deeply.”

Professor Vowles is cautious about introducing measures such as internet voting. “What seems clear from the international literature is that voting is a social act. Reforms to electoral administration that might make it more of an individual act, such as internet voting, might actually make things worse.”
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

For The Birds: Gordon Campbell On The Budget

Budgies, so their Wikipedia page says, are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, and ability to mimic human speech. Which is a reasonably good description of Finance Minister Bill English eighth Budget. . More>>

Max Rashbrooke On The 2016 Budget

The best label for this year’s announcement by Bill English might be the ‘Bare Minimum Budget’. It does the bare minimum to defuse potential political damage in a range of areas – homelessness and health are prime among them – but almost nothing to address the country’s most deep-rooted, systemic social problems. Indeed the Budget hints that these problems may get worse. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news