In light of the intensified focus on new age issues in the upcoming elections, I asked young voters what they believe are the most important issues that need to be addressed by parties in the upcoming elections. Here’s what they said:


“I think the most important thing is the opportunities for young New Zealanders to thrive in their own country, not just get by. By making tertiary education less of an expensive option, by making entry jobs or paid internships less of an intimidating option, and first homes actually being something attainable. I feel that many young people are forced to look elsewhere than their own country for their future.” – Lexi, 23, Recreations Manager


“I’d be keen to know what their plan is for public transport in the city because there’s always construction going on and big plans to reduce traffic but I don’t see it. My big thing is knowing how they will sort out traffic problems, whether that’s making public transport a priority, or building new roads.” – Janine, 23, Marketing Writer


“I’d like parties to initiate the creation of jobs. Also an initiative that caters for hungry children, maybe funding for providing lunch for lower decile schools. And an initiative to support low income families and using prisoners as a greater source of income for the country.” – Lukas, 25, Law Student


“I’d like to see a revision of the government budget to see at least some of the costs of tertiary education be covered by our taxes. I think everyone should have a right to tertiary education without being set back thousands of dollars, just as they’re entering the workplace in part-time roles with bills on top of that.” – Rhys, 19, Software Analyst


“I think we need to address the issues in mental health in schools, work environments, and communities. I don’t think there is enough support out there or information. Also, we need to address the issues around the homelessness level in the country. We need policies that allow people to get back to work – everyone should have the right to a home.” – Amanda, 21, Psychology Student


“I think for me the biggest issue is the environment. Recently we’ve seen more issues that are the result of climate change, and particularly in New Zealand where we pride ourselves on our environment I think we should be doing more to follow through on that. The consequences of intensive farming on our air, waterways and forests are a major cause for concern. Stricter rules and greater leadership to reduce our economy’s dependence on agriculture would go a long way to reducing our impact.” – Tomas, 22, Engineering Student


“The cost of living in general in Auckland is quite high. If the housing costs weren’t so high I’d be in a house right now so parties should focus on that. We also need to find policies to improve the way New Zealanders drive and the way they react to situations on the road, maybe with more defensive driving courses and license renewals.” – Dave, 23, PR Operations


“I think long term environmental conservation is important to address to preserve our country and the planet for the future. I would like to see parties making positive pressure on everyone to be more aware of their impact on the planet and small things they can change that will make a difference, such as enforcing reusable shopping bags instead of single use plastic.” – Rebecca, 21, Business Student


“I’d say child poverty is a big one, too many kids are living below the poverty line and there’s a growing wealth gap that needs to be addressed. And climate change, it’s not just going to go away so we need a government that is going to take it seriously.” – Manu, 22, Systems Analyst


“I would like to see politicians addressing the cultural needs of Maori in various areas including the criminal justice system. There is surprisingly no official program dedicated to Maori offenders with the aim of reintegration back into the community, and I want parties to provide some practical and clearly laid out policies for what can be implemented here.” – Lucy, 21, Law Student


“Mental health is an important priority that I reckon should be a focusing point in this election. As we all know New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world, and our mental health system is not up to par. Parties should push for increased funding and education, focusing on a more proactive approach and capable of providing help to the people who need it.” – Chris, 21, Business Student


What do you think should be our priorities leading up to the 2017 General Election? We’d like to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment below!

If you’re over 18 and aren’t sure whether you’re enrolled to vote, be sure to check your enrolment details here.


DANA TETENBURG is a freelance writer as well as a Media Studies and Anthropology graduate. Looks ridiculous lip-syncing the song she’s listening to on her iPod, but in fact is not crazy and is just cruising through life with smudged eyeliner and a heart of gold. Check out some more of her awesome work for TEARAWAY:

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