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

South Island Flooding: Focus Moves To Recovery

As water recedes throughout flood-impacted areas of the South Island, Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy has praised the efforts of those who were involved in the response to the flooding.

“Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups have acted proactively and decisively to keep people and property out of harm’s way,” says Mr Guy. More>>

 

Employers Pleased: Reports Of Govt Backdown On Low-Wage Immigration

MEA: We are pleased to hear that the Government is planning to review incoming immigration changes with a specific focus on how they will affect the regions. Effectively addressing skills shortages in manufacturing and other sectors needs to remain a core part of our immigration system ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ch-Ch-Changes At IRD

Job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation... More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Mental Health: Hospital Too 'Awful' For Reviewers To Visit

Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark... More>>

ALSO:

Greens Call For Govt Action: Children Sick Because Of NZ Housing

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect said today that children with preventable respiratory illnesses are being re-admitted to hospital because they're being sent back to cold, damp homes. More>>

ALSO:

Less Tax Cut, More Spending: Labour Launches Fiscal Plan

“Labour will invest $8 billion more in health, $4 billion more in education and $5 billion more for Kiwi families through Working for Families, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment than the Budget 2017 projections for the forecast period.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Greens’ Room For Political Pragmatism

The Greens here are currently being criticized by the commentariat for not making the same kind of pragmatic choices that sunk the Democrats in Australia. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog