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 The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news