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“Once Were Students” ains at engaging young voters

Student media (SalientTV) releases “Once Were Students”
a video series aimed at engaging young voters

Once Were Students is an online news show, produced by Victoria University’s Salient TV, which aims to get 18-24-year-olds engaged with politics. Stripping away discussions about policy and legislation; Once Were Students is focused on connecting with youth, by asking politicians unconventional questions that students can relate to. Presented by 23-year-old Joseph Coughlan, the mini-series interviews the likes of Winston Peters, Simon Bridges, Trevor Mallard, Chlöe Swarbrick, David Seymour, & Golriz Ghahraman; as they look back on their time as students, and reveal a refreshing and entertaining insight into their private lives.

“Are their certain people in parliament, that when you see them stand up you think…oh no!”
“Blink once if it’s Simon Bridges”
“I’m working really hard not to blink at all”

– An excerpt from one of the interviews between Joseph Coughlan & Trevor Mallard

The show will consist of two episodes, both available on Facebook and YouTube. With the first installment released on the Salient Facebook page this Thursday 10th of October at 3 pm.

Despite having the second biggest age demographic in New Zealand (with an estimated 464,620 eligible population), the 18-24 age bracket had the lowest voter turnout of 61.21% in the 2017 New Zealand general election (New Zealand Electoral Commission). Begging the question, why aren’t youth interested in New Zealand politics.

“I think the biggest problem with engaging youth in politics is the lack of accessibility and relatable content. Whether you’re eligible to vote or not, as a youth it can be incredibly daunting and confusing to try and understand how government works. Whilst many youths are aware of the key people in government, whenever anyone mentions policy or legislation, youth feel disconnected, and with only one member in the house that’s from the same demographic, it’s fair to ask, ‘how does what they’re (MPs) saying relate to me’,” says Joseph Coughlan.
Joseph explains that the idea for the videos came from, what started as an opportunity to interview the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, for a one-off hot-takes video for Salient TV:

“It was during my interview with the Deputy Prime Minister, that I felt worried my line of questioning was too conventional, and lacked any originality: hearing responses, that Mr. Peters had likely already said multiple times in his career. In a panic, I asked him: What’s your go-to flat-meal’, something that had absolutely nothing to do with politics, yet spawned a hilarious and rare anecdote about a young Winston Peters:

“One of the best jokes I used to have was, I would go out and shoot a whole lot of goats and serve it up and tell the guys it was lamb…they thought it was delicious”

The purpose of Once Were Students was to show notable members of parliament talking about a variety of student-related topics that would entertain and engage youth, to ultimately encourage more young people to involve themselves in politics and be interested in members of parliament and what they have to say”.

The first video will be released on both the Salient Facebook & YouTube page at 3 pm, Thursday 10th of October

The links to these pages can be found here:



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