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Kids get ready to vote

5 August 2013

Kids get ready to vote

Auckland schools have three weeks left to give their pupils a voice at October’s local body elections.

Over 6800 children from 253 classes at 32 schools have already signed up to take part in Kids Voting 2013.

With registration closing on Friday 23 August, teachers across the region are urged to make sure youngsters from years 7-10 don’t miss out on the chance to experience democracy in action for the first time.

Although their vote will not officially count, students are being asked to choose a Mayor, Councillors and Local Board members.

They will also be given a referendum question on boat safety.

“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and enhance understanding of the voting process among this age group,” says Auckland Council community development project leader, Jan Ziegler-Peri.

“We want to encourage children to discuss the issues and candidates with their friends and family to develop an understanding of why their vote is so important once they turn 18.”

Student voting, from 23-27 September, will take place online for the first time in New Zealand and the programme has already been successfully trialled at Papakura High School.

Full results will be available after the official local body elections on 12 October to show how the two votes compared.

The referendum question included in Kids Voting 2013 will find out whether students think lifejackets should be compulsory wear for children aged 16 and under on boats less than six metres in length.

This feedback will be fed into a wider public consultation process around navigation and boat safety bylaws expected to start early in 2014.

“Auckland Council is committed to hearing the views of our young people and given the number of families who will head out onto the water over summer – with all the risks and safety concerns that arise – we are particularly interested to hear their views on this subject,” says policies and bylaws manager, Andrew Pickering.

Schools not yet registered should go to Kids Voting 2013 at www.voteauckland.co.nz to find out more, or call 09 301 0101.


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