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Youth voter turnout on the rise

Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images

There was a six per cent increase in voter turnout among young people at this year’s General Elections.

Figures recently released by the Electoral Commission show 49,370 more  young voters under the age of 30 turned out for the 2017 General Election compared with the 2014 General Election.

This is the highest proportionate increase compared with any other age group.

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) National President Jonathan Gee says these figures show young people made a difference  in this year’s election.

Gee says Students’ Associations across the country also played their part to increase youth turnout through the #WeHavePower campaign.

Spanning across 15 tertiary campuses, the campaign mobilised hundreds of volunteers who organised lecture walkouts, political debates, vote pledges and phone banking among other activities in an effort to get students and young people to the polls.

“#WeHavePower was the beginning of a movement to better connect young people with politics,”he says.

“Politics has failed to speak to the aspirations, experiences and lived realities of young people, which leads to low youth turnout at elections.

“We hope that we’ve played our part in working to end the political marginalisation of young people.”

Gee says now students and young people expect politicians to keep their promises on the issues they care about.

“We want to see action on issues such as mental health, better financial support and climate change,” he says.

“We’ll be holding the government to their promises over the next three years to ensure that politics works better on the issues we care about.”

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