Pinch of Politics

-with Natasha Tziakis

Politics and positivity don’t normally go hand in hand, but for this election, it seems a lot of positives have come out of it.

Although there are still deeply rooted problems when it comes to politics, like poverty or environmental issues, there has been a huge social shift in the form of discussion and action.

This new wave of political action and discourse was proven as 1.2 million people cast an advanced vote in this year’s election.

In 2014, just 700,000 people cast an advanced vote.

Another 500,000 people voted in this year’s general election than the last. Not only that, some of those people will be talking to their friends and family about the election, policies and the rest. That fact alone should be seen as a national success as more people are actually getting actively involved with how New Zealand’s future is shaped.

Maybe it was Jacinda, maybe it was social media, or maybe people are just realising the power of their own voices. Growing up, I was so lucky to be raised in a family who were, and still are, politically active and interested. This has helped shape my view and encouraged me to always participate in democracy. But I know from personal experience that other families and people do not share these views and choose not to vote.

Yes, this is a choice for every individual to make, but the country will more or less stay the same every election as the same people will be voting. Because of this election, the country is changing. Regardless of what party leads our Government, kiwi’s have changed in their attitude towards politics and recognising their own voice.

These changes will both be positive and negative. As with any winning and governing party, mistakes can and will be made. The most important thing to take from this is that there has been a huge shift in what environment we used to think political discussion belonged in versus what it actually is now. Bars, flats, even the footpath can be a place for people to express their opinions about a New Zealand’s Government.

It’s incredibly hard to write about a Government that had not yet been decided by the time of going to print. But it’s made me consider the wider changes the election has had and will continue to have, rather than just who the Prime Minister is. These considerations have made me stop and look at how student culture around politics is growing and developing to be even stronger. The fact that this column exists is a huge indication of how hungry us students are for political change and discussion.

With this being the last issue of Pinch of Politics for 2017, I’d like to say that those political memes you tag your friends in, watching the 6pm news and staying up-to-date, are signs of a small scale revolution. You are helping steer future New Zealander’s from an apathetic view, to a country that is involved and informed. So, thank you.

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