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Innovative online tool launched to encourage youth to vote

Innovative online tool launched to encourage youth to vote

A group of Massey University students from Wellington have taken the initiative to launch a non-partisan web based tool to encourage young New Zealander’s to vote in this year’s Election.

As part of a third year Massey University Design & Business project, five design students from various disciplines were challenged to design and develop a simple web-based tool to aid voters’ decision making in the 2011 New Zealand General Election. Moving beyond the classroom, the students believe it will make a difference to the way their peers engage with politics.

The interactive tool matches the users’ values with the values of different parties, as assessed by a panel of experts. A best match is then calculated to narrow down the options to present the most compatible parties. The tool doesn’t tell a user how to vote or specifically who to vote for, but does provide a sense of direction for further independent research. It aims to help put trainer wheels on the future for many young people who believe that politics has no shaping influence in their lives.

On the Fence Project Manager Kieran Stowers said: “A huge number of young people feel peer pressured when voting, either by going along with what their friends think or voting for a particular party just because that’s what their parents do. Or even worse, they don’t vote at all! It shouldn’t be seen as a chore, voting is a way of expressing yourself as an individual and we wanted to help people find their voice”.

www.onthefence.co.nz

ENDS

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