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By making your voice heard in this year’s general election on September 20, you get to choose who will represent you in Parliament. It’s your best chance to influence the future of the nation. By Maverick JEROME SEARS.

 

In New Zealand, we live in a democracy, which means we’re entitled to have a say in how our country is run.

There’s a general election this year, so if you are 18 or over, you get the chance to have your say on the issues that matter to you. On September 20, the nation will go to the polls to decide who will be in power for the next three years.

You might think most of those big wigs in parliament are boring old farts who like to kick up a fuss. Ultimately though, they are there to represent the entire nation in making and influencing huge decisions that will affect the future of our country.

The vote that you make actually has an impact. That’s a privilege, and  something that is not the case for people in many other areas of the world.

In fact, there are people fighting and dying right now just to have that opportunity to have a say in their own lives. Really, we should count ourselves lucky.

 

Your Vote Counts

It’s all about what you believe and care about. The election gives you the opportunity to take a stand on the issues and policies that will affect our nation in the future.

You might have some understanding of what’s going down politically, whether you’ve learnt that at school, online, on social media, on television or through discussions. You might have even clicked ‘like’ on a couple of important causes on Facebook.

However despite all this information  being at our fingertips, there is still a large proportion of Kiwi youth who have never voted.

In the 18 to 24 age group, just over 300,000 people are enrolled to vote, which equates to 30% of the estimated eligible voting population. This leaves over 130,000 youths not enrolled. Add this to the number of enrolled people who don’t vote and you’re left with a staggering figure big enough to change the outcome of the election.

Now more than ever before, a new generation of young voters can have a real impact on the big issues. But in order for that to happen, you actually have to jump on board to enrol and turn up on election day to have your say.

Make sure you enrol to vote before election day. You can enrol online, by phone, by text or at your local post shop. It’s really easy. Remember: if you don’t enrol, you can’t vote.

 

It’s Too Easy
Enrolling is just the first step. The most important thing is actually turning up on election day to cast your vote. There are loads of voting places across the nation and you can vote at any of them. If you can’t get to a voting place on election day, vote in advance.

Voting itself is a matter of two simple ticks: One for the candidate you want to represent your local area and one for the party you want to lead the nation.

Two ticks; too easy! If you don’t vote, your voice can’t be heard.

If you’re having trouble making up your mind, there are loads of ways to get informed. Do your own research and find out which party is right for you. Scour the internet, ask your friends and whanau, or send your local MP a cheeky Tweet. There’s even an Internet app* that can help point you in the right direction, by lining up your values and beliefs with the different political parties.

Ultimately, your vote is your personal decision to make.

A vote this year isn’t just about what’s going to happen in the next three years, but also about defining the building blocks of what’s going to happen to NZ further into the future. This includes everything from the state of our environment to making sure we’ll be able to afford houses one day.

Your decision this year will affect you later in life.

This year is your year to make a choice about what matters to you. Make sure you have your say and spread the word. Every vote matters.

 

How To Enrol
Online: elections.org.nz
Call: 0800 36 76 56
Text: Your name &  address to 3676
In person: At your local post shop

 

*Confused? There’s a handy online app that can help you discover your personal political preference. Head over to: onthefence.co.nz

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