Holly Ryan

Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

App out to mobilise voters ahead of election

Student’s winning invention helps political novices decide which party suits them best.

Hannah Duder hopes her app will help the 42 per cent of young Kiwis who did not vote in the last general election.
Hannah Duder hopes her app will help the 42 per cent of young Kiwis who did not vote in the last general election.

Canterbury University student Hannah Duder aims to launch her political party voting app to the market before this year's September election.

Duder's app idea aims to simplify political party policies, and allow users to say yes or no to different policies by swiping left or right, similar to dating app Tinder. The app will then suggest the political party that best fits the user based on their responses.

Duder hopes to target the 42 per cent of New Zealanders aged between 18 and 24 who did not vote in the last general election.

The 22-year-old student was one of 100 New Zealanders vying for entrepreneur Derek Handley's 100 ideas for change project.

Video - Hannah Duder, winner of 100 ideas for change:

Video


That initiative was part of Handley's broader shouldertap campaign, which aims to help him find a New Zealand-based chief operator, as well as getting businesspeople across the country to start talking about business ideas through social media.

Of the more than 1000 applicants, 100 were selected to progress to the next stage of the applications, where they were asked to come up with a business solution to a social or environmental issue.

At an event last month hosted by AUT University, Duder was selected as the winner of the campaign, picking up a $10,000 seed grant to help her get the app up and running.

According to Handley, the app helps address the "hot issue" of declining youth voting in New Zealand, and in a unique way.

"There are a number of great initiatives around getting young people aware of their responsibility to vote, and getting voter turnout on the day, and Hannah's app is focusing on helping the voter match the issues they are passionate about with the policies and parties that stand for them," Handley said.

"I haven't seen many ideas out there that address this part of the issue."

According to a Statistics New Zealand social survey, voter disengagement was the No 1 reason for citizens not voting in both the 2008 and 2011 elections, with almost 10 per cent of non-voters stating they did not know enough about the policies or parties to vote.

Duder said she wanted to change this by providing an app that matched people's ideas and thoughts with political party policies, to help give youth a better idea of what party best suited them, and in a fun and engaging way.

"Most of my friends are ... [in that youth] age bracket, and it just seemed that the reason that they weren't voting wasn't because they couldn't be bothered going to the booth or anything like that," Duder said.

"It was more to do with the fact that when they got there they wouldn't know who to vote for, and they weren't keen to make an uneducated guess or just tick a box."

According to Handley, the main barrier to getting the app up and running before the election was the short time-frame, although he noted it definitely wasn't impossible.

"The last few weeks leading up to the election are when a lot of people make their voting decisions, so if the app is ready three to four weeks before the election, that gives the team over 60 days to make it happen. "Yes, that's ambitious, but it's not unreasonable," Handley said.

Duder agrees that the timeframe for getting all of the data for the app together is relatively short.

However, with her previous app, The Suggestion Box, taking just over a week to create, she is confident it will get done in time.

Duder said the app would be free initially, although she said monetising the idea was a focus.

Shouldertap

• The 100 ideas for change campaign was part of entrepreneur Derek Handley's wider shouldertap campaign.
• Shouldertap is an unconventional recruitment campaign launched by Handley to try to connect Kiwi businesspeople.
• The campaign also aims to find Handley a New Zealand-based chief operator, as well as promoting individual ideas.
• More than 1000 people have applied for the job from more than 30 different countries.

- NZ Herald

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