RockEnrol regarding final voter turnout

Published: Sat 7 Oct 2017 02:52 PM
Statement from RockEnrol Spokesperson Archie Buissink regarding final voter turnout
RockEnrol are full of hope about the increase in New Zealanders’ engagement with the New Zealand General Election. We are pleased to have contributed to the changes in youth voter turnout in 2017, and we’re delighted that voter turnout in general changed for the better compared to the previous General Election. These increases speak to the ways in which young people were involved in the political process, and the more inclusive conversation about political issues in this election cycle. In 2017, young people were equipped with the knowledge they need to vote and have been much more involved in the kōrero about election issues and policy in larger numbers than previous elections.
During the 2017 Election RockEnrol increased our efforts to elevate youth voter turnout combining social media, music, art and events to empower young people. Campaign events run or supported by us, such as #VoteTogether events encouraging youth to vote together, parties for people who had voted, workshops and panel discussions, attracted over 1, 200 attendees, and our social media efforts, including an artificial intelligence chatbot, reached nearly 400, 000 people. Horizon Research polling found in 2014 RockEnrol influenced 5% of 18 - 24 year-olds to vote, equivalent to 20,449 voters, and we are confident that we will have influenced even more young New Zealanders to vote this election.
Other organisations were key partners in the effort to increase turnout this election. Massey University’s Design and Democracy Centre, Vice and The Spinoff all deserve acknowledgement for their initiatives such as On the Fence, Policy, For the Record, and Make Me Tick, as well as general coverage given to topics actually relevant to the General Election. These all are fundamental components of the wider effort to help young New Zealanders become more aware and energised about the election and significant issues within it. The Electoral Commission also deserves recognition of its efforts to make voting more accessible to young people, with initiatives such as and sponsorship of other projects such as The Spinoff’s Make Me Tick.
While this progress is pleasing, it highlights change is needed at a systemic level. While nonpartisan campaign groups such as RockEnrol have managed to increase voter turnout in recent elections, overall voter turnout youth voter turnout is still significantly lower than the turnout for 65+ year-old voters. These next three years before the next General Election time are an opportune time for broader kōrero about how we do democracy in Aotearoa. RockEnrol will be leading discussion on topics such as lowering the voting age to sixteen, civics education in schools, and how to revitalise local body elections in time for 2019.

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