Some reasons why young people don’t vote

Electoral Commission via RNZ

It’s not that young people don’t vote.  It’s that fewer vote.  RNZ asked a few why.

CLAIRE, 26, human resources

I guess there are a couple of reasons why I didn’t vote.

I don’t know enough. I’ve always believed knowledge is power – my vote would not be an educated one, or one that has any serious meaning behind it because I don’t understand politics.

I don’t understand MMP, or the difference between list MPs and electoral MPs.

I also feel disillusioned. I don’t know if people are in politics for the right reasons? Especially during election year, there seems to be so much lip service and false promises.

It’s easier not to engage than feel let down when MPs or local politicians don’t deliver.

I suppose I would also say I am lazy – I’ve moved cities and haven’t changed my address.

I am not sure how my vote can make a difference, and I guess a part of it is I’m just not interested in politics.

I would be more likely to vote if politicians were seriously looking to address issues that affected me, such as making it easier for first home buyers.

ROB, 27, student/after-school carer

Usually I am a left-wing voter and Labour is my party of choice, but I am incredibly cynical and it is more of a token support.

When the 2014 elections rolled round, National’s support hadn’t seemed to ebb and Labour hadn’t done enough to differentiate themselves. I felt as though neither of the major parties had policies that affected me and none of the minor parties particularly appealed to me.

I don’t think I even noticed the election come and go.

I regret not having voted only in the fact that if everyone who thought they should vote, did, the outcome might not have been as stark.

However, Labour have since made what I see as positive changes in terms of moving back towards the left than they have in recent memory, and they are now a party I am happy to support.

Only 999,999 to find then.

One more.

KIERAN, 24, hospo worker

Ever since I was at an age where I was able to vote, I have never once used that power to voice my opinion on who I would want to run the country and the parties that would assist them.

My reason for doing so is just a lack of caring, but at the same time, I’ve never felt that I could make an informed decision. I don’t know enough about the promises each candidate and their respective parties have made regarding how they would improve our country.

At the back of my mind I am always thinking, it’s just one person’s vote, it won’t change the final outcome. I feel like I am just an insignificant, single opinion among the millions of people in our country.

I also feel that the country seems to be running fine as it is, so there’s no need to get involved if I don’t have too.

The notion that it’s just one vote is a common one, even for those that vote every time.  And when you know your spouse votes Labour when you vote National, you might both be inclined to stay at home.

But it is in fact one of your jobs as a citizen to vote.  And on that basis, I take my responsibility seriously.  I’ve never missed an election, and the first time I do, I’ll be dead.


– The Wireless, RNZ

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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