Vote2020

First-time Whanganui voters turned out in the early morning cold and rain to enrol for the 2020 general election.

Organised and hosted by the Whanganui District Council's youth committee, the event offered a free breakfast along with a chance to meet local candidates in Majestic Square yesterday morning.

Youth committee project support officer Nicole Grey said the turnout was pretty good despite the weather.

"We had quite a few high school students turn up and a number of enrolments.

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"Some of those who won't be old enough to vote this time are interested in working for the Electoral Commission and they are eligible if they are over 16."

Hot chocolate and buns provided by Cinnamonui were an added incentive for young people to gather on the Majestic Square stage and meet candidates from the Labour, Green, National and Conservative parties.

Grey said the End of Life Choice Act and cannabis legalisation and control referendums have provoked a lot of interest for young voters.

"Knowing that they have the opportunity to vote on those things as well as political candidates is generating a lot of interest for young people.

"They were asking a lot of questions of the candidates and electoral workers."

Co-hosting the event with Grey was volunteer TK Kawiti who is a first-time voter himself this year.

He lives in Marton and will be voting in the Te Tai Hauāuru Māori electorate.

"I would like to see a lot more co-operation between parties - especially in the Māori seats," he said.

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Kawiti has been working with Grey on a virtual village project which brings young people in the region together online and provides a platform to share information and discuss political and social issues.

The Whanganui District Council youth committee welcomed nine new members this year and they were sworn in by Mayor Hamish McDouall last month.

"They are a really interesting group of new voices with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas to share," Grey said.

Electoral Commission staff were on-site in Majestic Square from 7.30am until 9am before heading off to set up an information and enrolment booth at UCOL Whanganui.