Leaders are important. Members of Parliament are important because they are people who make decisions that impact our everyday life. Young people make up the majority of the population but not enough of us are exercising our right to have representation in Government or the right to vote but not this year.
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I enrolled for the first time when I was 17 at the Post Shop in town, unintentionally, I just wanted the free sausage sizzle you got if you enrolled. Passing through town now 18, I saw the elections' tent and more importantly at the time, yoyos but I wasn't going to give my details away willy-nilly this time and asked what I was signing up to.
I felt informed and that made me feel empowered, so I signed myself up for the long run and joined the elections. We are lucky, if you ask me, we've got the most beautiful place to live in the world and we get to choose who makes the decisions unlike some countries today which are not given the same right.
The more I found out about the impact I could make the more I wanted to be involved and so would you. If you think you want to get involved in elections register your interest to work at elections.nz/jobs
The trick is voting is the easy part, it's literally two ticks, one for your party vote and one for a MP representing your electorate and boom, you've voted. Choosing who deserves your vote and the opportunity to be an MP is where you need to do some digging. Check out the parties' websites, browse their Facebook pages, and get an idea of the people who want to run the country.
The general election is a little different this year as there will be two referendums asked. What's a referendum? It's a petition asking voters to have a say on a proposed law.
You'll be given the opportunity to vote on two referendums, the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill and also the End of Life Choice Act 2019. Find out more on referendum.govt.nz .
It's not long now until it's your time to make a choice. Election day is September 19, but that time will come by quick so make sure your details are up to date on vote.nz. It's easy to check as long as you have valid photo ID.
Don't leave it until the last minute! If you've moved house or haven't received mail from Elections since moving, you are no longer up-to-date.
It's our time to be heard, you are more powerful than you know and your vote does count.
• Anahera Pickering is community outreach co-ordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz .