Young people have the power bring about real change, and a national campaign has been launched to encourage students to vote in the forthcoming election.
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations’ (NZUSA) We Have Power campaign aims to challenge the misconception that students do not vote because they do not care.
“The main principle behind this campaign is that young people do care, but politics has really failed to address youth issues. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you say young people won’t vote, they won’t,” NZUSA president Jonathan Gee told The Wireless.
More than one third of eligible Kiwis aged between 18 and 24 didn’t vote in 2014.
The blame for the low turnout can often be placed at the door of politicians who have failed in the past to engage and inspire young people to get out and vote.
“The biggest thing is that the political system hasn’t been speaking to young people in a way that works for them,” Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association president, Rory Lenihan-Ikin, told Stuff.
We Have Power involves volunteers at up to 20 tertiary campuses around the country.
Planned campaign activities include “lecture bashing” – invading lectures to hand out enrolment forms and speak to crowds and “text banking” – messaging people reminding them to register and vote and organise others. Once advance voting begins, the campaign is planning mass walkouts of lectures whereby groups of students head to campus polling stations together.