Mood of the Nation: Labour winning battle for youth

By Yvonne Tahana, Simon Collins, Jarrod Booker

Agnes Walsh, 22, and Shaun Sainsbury, 19, who are backing Labour. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Agnes Walsh, 22, and Shaun Sainsbury, 19, who are backing Labour. Photo / Mark Mitchell

It may be trailing heavily in the overall polls, but Labour is comfortably winning the battle for the youth vote, a Herald survey shows.

The Herald's Mood of the Nation survey, which canvassed the opinions of 522 voters on the streets throughout the country, found that overall National is well out in front, with the backing of 43 per cent of voters, compared with Labour's 31 per cent.

The Greens are also performing well, with 14 per cent support of those surveyed.

When the responses of youth voters (aged 18 to 24) are looked at in isolation, Labour has turned the tables on National, with the support of 46 per cent of young voters against National's 29 per cent.

The Green Party, traditionally favoured by young voters, surprisingly drops a percentage point from its overall result to 13 per cent support in the youth vote.

The youth voters appear to see Labour better representing their needs.

Wellington student Sam Shepard, 20, said: "Being of student age, I see Labour being the party that might do something about a universal allowance. I don't qualify for a student allowance but I'd love one. One less thing to pay back."

Aro Valley student Shaun Sainsbury, 19, said he would vote Labour because "the last time they were in they seemed to do a better job - a lot better than National".

Unitec student Danielle Forman, 21, said her first vote would be for Labour because National was using the likes of the Rugby World Cup to "cover up that our country has gone to s***".

"It's all very well to have three or four weeks of parties but when it comes down to it there are things that matter. National is not getting my vote at all, the way their policies come into play, they are so underhanded in shifting through policies that we don't need and we don't want."

Unitec student Frank Kwon, 23, said he backed Labour "because I am in the poor class, not the rich class".

Manukau student Amy Leva, 18, said: "Helen Clark was better, I think she took care of New Zealand."

The Green Party had support from the likes of Rotorua carpet cleaner Joel Stephens, 19, for its marijuana law reform policy, while Takapuna bricklayer Aaron Gefrish, 18, backed it Greens "because I heard they are bringing that toxic stuff in and the Green Party doesn't want it".

Cafe owner Cain Waruhia, 24, used to vote Labour, but since Helen Clark left, "I don't think there is a better person than John Key".

"You've got to give National a chance. I don't think three years is enough."

Other youth voters backing National are looking for stability.

"The only reason [for voting National is] because it will be unsettled if it changes," said Hamilton sales administrator Lauren Hyde, 22.

"I'm happy with the way things are."

Rotorua student Katie Geaney, 19, said of National: "I like the way they are doing things and I like the way they are not dealing with so many social issues. They are dealing with things like finances rather than the social agenda."

Horohoro casual worker Tyrol Kiel, 22, said Prime Minister John Key was "on to it".

"I'd rather have someone who knows what they are doing with the books than all the other PC stuff."

Botany student Amy Corbett, 19, said the way Mr Key handled the likes of the World Cup made New Zealand look good internationally.

"He's more of an interactive leader than Helen Clark was."

But for some young people, voting doesn't hold much interest.

"I'll leave it up to everyone else. I don't have much to do with it, I'm just a student," said Rotorua student Grace Senior, 19. "I can't see it's a huge priority at the moment."

- NZ Herald

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