Almost like a broken record close to every election, we start to hear a similar question being repeated.
How do we get young people to vote? Why aren't the voting? Will we see a youthquake this election?
The statistics for youth voting in general elections are low but you don't even want to start on local body elections. As an entire population, we struggle to get enough people voting for our councils, DHBs, and other local governments.
With few young people voting we see is a gross under-representation of youth around the decision-making table.
Albert Einstein said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results".
We are not going to get young people voting by crying out that this is the election of our lifetime or that they should care deeply about funding for local infrastructure. We need to completely change the way we view voting if we are to turn this ship around.
So what do I think needs to change?
Firstly we need automatic enrolments. It's compulsory to be enrolled once you turn 18 yet it is still a manual process.
All the electoral commission really needs is our names, address, and date of birth. All of this information is stored at our schools, doctors, even our library cards. We need to use this information and automatically enrol everyone.
Why? Because when it comes to local body elections you are mailed out your papers (I'll get onto that next) and in order to receive them in the post you have to have enrolled six weeks prior to September 20.
This is for an election in which the results are finalised on October 12. If you just miss getting enrolled and then have to fill out a special ballot it can be a long and tedious process.
At that point why bother? Enrolling to vote shouldn't be complicated or try to prevent people from voting - something which is a right.
Secondly, we need to address postal ballots. Imagine if we voted for general elections by mail. There would be an outcry. Votes getting lost in the post.
Votes not showing up on time. People have started talking about online voting but I think that misses the point.
How many emails have you opened and gone, "I really need to reply to that but I'm just so busy at the moment … I'll do it later".
Online voting, just like the census, would probably require a posted-out code and would just further complicate a mailed vote.
We need to have what we do on the day of a general election and have a single polling day for a whole day. Just like a general election, we can make a day of it. Have it on a Saturday with sausage sizzles and no election billboards everywhere. If we treat our local elections with more importance people will vote and in turn, young people will vote.
My last grand idea is that we just need candidates to do some of the heavy lifting.
Go into high schools and universities. Get on social media. Talk about and address issues of importance to young people. During general elections we often see MPs and candidates making visits to our universities and making policy announcements aimed at those aged 18 to 25.
Any candidate who wants the "youth vote" needs to reach out to young people. Don't use them as a nice campaign photo or tokenise them. Go to local schools and sit down and listen to their concerns.
You'll find that actually, it's not that young people don't care enough to vote its that they don't feel engaged or listened to by their candidates.
Young people care hugely about political issues. Climate Change is inspiring a new generation of young leaders who are passionate about taking action.
When we can link voting and real change we will see a huge change in voting behaviour.
Local government isn't the most exciting topic but when they're responsible for New Year's eve events, our sports grounds, and our roads we actually do have to make sure a younger voice is being listened to.