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

 


Lower enrolment levels: practical impact of dirty politics?

Lowered enrolment levels - the practical impact of dirty politics?

A healthy democracy should be about more than the government being able to enrol voters effectively and run the mechanics of an election. With the historically low levels of voter enrolment this year, including a 5% fall in 18-25 year-olds signing up, it appears that even this minimal requirement of our democracy is not working as it should.

The contention in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics - that personal attacks and demoralisation are being used as tactics to turn off voters seems to be bearing a toxic fruit. Hager wrote "politics is a turn off when politicians can't be trusted, politics looks petty or ugly and no-one seems to be talking about the things that matter". Hager quotes information from the strategist Simon Lusk whose thinking about election turnout borrows from the US Republican Party. This cynical approach has included discouraging some people from voting altogether because “negative campaigning lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continue to turn out”. The current low levels of sign-up reflect this disenchantment but have been largely unremarked by the NZ media or politicians.

To put the levels into perspective only 89.17 % of voters are enrolled 5 weeks out from the election. On historical trends enrolment will have fallen by more than 2.5% of eligible voters on election day from 2011. Over the six years since 2008 an additional 4 out of a hundred eligible people are not on the roll with younger people being particularly poorly represented.

Whether it is politicians and their contacts using scare and smear tactics, the main stream media focusing on personality rather than policy or a loss of institutional memory or capacity in the Electoral Commission following the wholesale re-organisation and amalgamation in 2011/12 the lower levels of enrolment at this election represent a significant failure of New Zealand’s democracy.

The information about the 2011 election is here.
(4.5% of the eligible population is about 150,000 people and 6% about 200,000 of the total of eligible voters).

Election day enrolment 2011 -93.7%; 2008 - 95.3%; 2005 - 95.2%

Pre-election registration levels are currently 4.5% lower than on election day in 2011 and 6% lower than in 2008. At both those elections only 1.7% or 1.8% respectively of the total eligible population (or about 56,000 people on each occasion) came on to the roll in the last four weeks before the election. To close the gap with the 2011 election people would need to be signing up at three times the rate that they enrolled in from now to the election (or at four times the rate to meet the 2008 enrolment level). Despite the huge volunteer effort in the shape of RockEnrol, Get Out the Vote and other programmes the current rate of enrolment (reported to be about 11,000 new people last week) is in line with the 2011 and 2008 elections.

Quotations from Dirty Politics P18 and P132

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

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>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news