Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Licence needed for work use Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Kiwis Don’t Know Basic Civics, New Survey Says

Almost a third of Kiwi voters do not know which political parties are in Parliament and less than half understand how a party can get there, according to a new study.

With elections just around the corner, new research by The New Zealand initiative reveals just 69% of Kiwis can name all five political parties in Parliament today. On top of that, only 46% knew that under MMP a party needs to win an electorate seat or gain at least 5% of the vote to enter Parliament.

The survey, in Eric Crampton and Nathan Smith’s report Democracy in the Dark, asked a thousand voting-age New Zealanders 13 basic questions to test their knowledge of civics and democracy. The report also draws on previous surveys by the New Zealand Election Survey and international research on voter knowledge.

“Being a political junkie should not be a pre-requisite for voting. But it is hard to vote well if you don’t know the basics. There has been a lot of emphasis on a civic duty to vote, but too little attention to the importance of casting an informed ballot,” he said.

The Initiative’s survey is a worrying snapshot of Kiwis’ civics knowledge:

  • About a third knew Hon Chris Hipkins is Minister of Education;
  • Only one in twenty knew David Parker is Minister for the Environment;
  • 12% knew the three branches of government;
  • 20% knew which parties voted for the Zero Carbon Bill;
  • 56% of respondents incorrectly believe New Zealand has a military alliance with the United Kingdom.
Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"The results of the Initiative’s survey are not surprising to those familiar with research on voter knowledge. What is more surprising is that policy outcomes wind up generally being decent, despite substantial proportions of the electorate having very little knowledge about what is going on,” Crampton said.

Improving knowledge about civics is important, but difficult. While the state of civics education in the schools is weak, international experience makes it hard to be optimistic. More classroom time on civics may not do much to improve voter knowledge.

Democracy in the Dark recommends the Government strengthen civics education in schools, but as a trial to test effectiveness and costs. But it also suggests out-of-the-box ideas that might provide more direct incentives for voters to become informed, and to kickstart a fresh interest among Kiwis for the future of the country.

Read more: A copy of Democracy in the Dark and a report summary

https://nzinitiative.outreach.co.nz/

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy


It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is... Then how come New Zealand has enjoyed a double AA+ credit rating from the international rating agencies for so long? If we have truly been in the thrall of incompetent tax, spend and borrow extremists for the past six years, how come our net government debt burden is only in the middling average of OECD countries, and how come our government debt-to-GDP ratio – however you measure it – is less than half the average for the Asia-Pacific region?..
More


 
 


Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Budget Will Be Delivered On 30 May

Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence, and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, says Nicola Willis... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.