More than half of young voters haven't picked a party

Many young voters say they don't know if any parties represent their interests. Photo / Electoral Commission
Many young voters say they don't know if any parties represent their interests. Photo / Electoral Commission

Three quarters of young Kiwis plan to cast a vote in the upcoming election, but more than half of them haven't decided which party it will go to.

That's according to a Research Association New Zealand poll which spoke in April to 669 Kiwis aged 18-25, drawn from an online panel and representing the population based on gender, ethnicity and geography.

But it remains to be seen whether their good intentions will come to pass. At the 2014 election just 63 per cent of enrolled 18- to 24-year-olds actually made it to the polling booth, according to the Electoral Commission.

Commission figures from the end of April show barely 66 per cent of the same age group are enrolled to vote this September, despite enrolment being compulsory in New Zealand.

RANZ chief executive Robert Bree said with five months to go it was important young people be encouraged to exercise their voting rights.

The association carried out the survey to find out what young voters were thinking in the "post-Trump, post-Brexit era".

Only 41 per cent of intending young voters knew who they were going to vote for. And less than half were confident at least one party represented their interests, the survey found.

Bree said it was concerning that many young voters had not decided to vote or who to vote for.

"In the build-up to the election, the focus tends to go onto polling," he said. "Most younger voters are still undecided and it is important that the political parties and the media do their best to provide quality information to voters so they can make informed decisions about our nation's future."

More young women (78 per cent) intended to vote than young men (72 per cent), while Wellingtonians were most likely to vote and Aucklanders least likely.

Almost all respondents - 94 per cent - said the right to vote was important to New Zealand's democracy.

Online voting, civics education, compulsory voting and better information were among suggestions to improve the election process.

- NZ Herald

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