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Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, September 18th, 2011 - 114 comments
Categories: activism, democratic participation, election 2011, political education - Tags: , ,

In the 2008 general election over 600,000 eligible people didn’t vote. That made No Vote the third biggest “Party” after National and Labour. There are many different reasons for this, but overall it doesn’t reflect well on the health of our democracy.

Particularly concerning is the disproportionate number of young people who don’t vote. There is some good research on this group, so it isn’t exactly a mystery, but it’s still a huge worry that the young are disengaged from the political process. They have a the most future to protect, after all. 2011 is shaping up to be even worse:

A third of young adults yet to enroll

Green MP Gareth Hughes says he is deeply concerned that almost one third of 18 to 24-year-olds have not enrolled to vote.

He says the trend for youth enrolment is heading steadily down – one fifth of 24 to 29-year-olds have also failed to register. …

How do we reverse this trend? How do we make politics meaningful to the young?

Maybe the latter is the wrong question. Maybe “we” old fogeys can’t “make” politics meaningful to anyone. Maybe the young have to do that for themselves. So once again I want to extend a warm welcome to Generation Zero , and wish them every success in their goals.  The sooner you lot boot my generation out of power the better.

114 comments on “Disengaged ”

  1. Bill 1

    But ‘generation zero’ is merely seeking to petition the government on climate change. As such, they are doing it in a fashion that reinforces the perceived legitimacy of our current systems of power. (Petitioning representatives)

    If, in twenty years time (or whenever) these people have their hands on the levers of power, then sad to say, they will be the same levers as exist today and so will only be capable of being manouvered in the same way as at present.

    The generation may be different, but the mind set (in relation to the exercise of power and what constitutes legitimate power) will be the same. And so nothing of substance will change.

  2. headbanger 2

    This makes me really angry. If youth don’t vote then they are accepting youth rates, plain and simple. English is being coy about this now, but there is no doubt in my mind that he will bring this back in if given a second term.

    This gives the opposition parties a powerful tool to motivate youth to enroll and vote.

    Imagine a campaign explaining $8ph youth rate if you don’t vote, $15ph minimum wage if you do. Get that into an advert slot near a popular TV programme and see what happens.

    Present a 23 year old trying to pay rent or support a family on the youth rate and the message will hit home. 
    Present a degree student having to work all weekend to cover their living costs and struggling to feed themselves while they fall behind on their course-work.
    Present how many more years it will take a young couple to save for their first home.

    The fact that parties are not doing this is a huge and unforgivable failure. Don’t complaint youth aren’t voting DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

  3. lefty 3

    Each generation has to make its revolution in its own way. Sadly mine has focussed almost entirely on issues of personal choice, rather than the social and economic wellbeing of the majority.
    I don’t blame the next generation for finding it difficult to find a path out of the toxic economic,social and political swamp we have created through our dedication to selfishness.
    The willfill disregard of the ineveitable consequences of the neo liberal economics that the National, Labour and Green parties are wedded to presents an impossible barrier for young people with integrity to participating in mainstream politics.
    The present generation of young people are going to have to totally reinvent politics and economics, with strong entrenched interests including all the present political parties, fighting them all the way.
    And they are going to have to do this working from an information base that has taught them a totally distorted version of recent history.
    They will also have to wade through the nonsense the media and education systems fill them with at every possible opportunity, as they seek to identify better ways of doing things.
    Most importantly, they are going to have to discover or invent a set of ethics and spiritual guidelines and get their heads around issues of class and power, so they can begin putting in place a set of social and economic relationships that replace the alienation and distorted behaviours caused by our devotion to free market capitalism.
    I suspect this challenge is so huge many won’t bother even trying until/unless some cataclymic event forces them into it.

    • alex 3.1

      I’m sorry lefty but the Greens aren’t wedded to the neo liberal agenda in remotely the same way that National and Labour are. There is no Green support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership for starters, or for World Bank style ‘economic rebalancing’. The Greens have also long advocated for a CGT. Labour might have sold out but the Greens are still your best chance of getting a party that will a) get into parliament and b) put a brake on unrestrained neo liberal restructuring. They just don’t believe in economic growth in the same way that Labour and National do, they believe it should be kept in balance with the natural resources the earth can provide sustainably and in perpetuity. Just thought that needed to be cleared up.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Yeah, the Greens aren’t “wedded to the neo-liberal agenda in remotely the same way that National or Labour are.”

        Using that analogy, the best you might say is that the Greens prefer an open relationship. Essentially the same shit. Different rules of engagement.

        Still a market economy. Still representative systems of governance. Still beholden to the same vested interests.

        • alex

          Yes Bill, the Greens are beholden to vested interests. Their members. Stark contrast to all the other authoritarian parties isn’t it?

        • clandestino

          ‘Still a market economy’??

          Is there another economic form I’m not familiar with? Even bartering involves a market. Even freecycling is a market.

        • Ari

          I think it’s more like the Greens realise there will be a market no matter what we do, they just want it to be a market that places an appropriate value on both the environment and on human beings.

      • rosy 3.1.2

        “They just don’t believe in economic growth in the same way that Labour and National do, they believe it should be kept in balance with the natural resources the earth can provide sustainably and in perpetuity.”

        But they are willing to talk to National about a coalition deal, and that makes this whole philosophy a moot point.

        • alex

          Well you can’t have it both ways on MMP can you? Either you believe in MMP, and say coalition deals are the only way to govern, or you believe in majoritarian rule where there is no need for compromise.

          Seriously, talk of a Green National government was media fodder, the Greens struggle enough to get coverage and that got their name in the paper multiple times. The deal won’t happen.

          Furthermore the Greens are the only party actively going out to engage young people. Why would they then betray those young people by getting into bed with Nats? The disillusionment would be profound for those who go out to vote for the first time if they ended up contributing to a National govt. The Greens just wouldn’t do that as it isn’t in their interests long term, and as we have consistently seen, the Greens are the only party that thinks with a longer term in mind than the next election.

          • felix

            I don’t think anyone seriously thinks the Greens would ever have enough common ground with National for confidence & supply.

            The reason many of us took the Greens’ “media fodder” as a slap in the face was because to the casual observer – because of the way politics is reported as sport – it may well have appeared to be an endorsement of National by the Greens, creating the impression that “Even the Greens like John Key’s National govt.”

            And that doesn’t help at all.

            • rosy

              “I don’t think anyone seriously thinks the Greens would ever have enough common ground with National for confidence & supply.”

              Do I trust Mr Norman enough to believe that? This is my problem.

          • Vicky32

            the Greens struggle enough to get coverage and that got their name in the paper multiple times. The deal won’t happen.

            It jolly well had better not!

          • lefty

            The Green Party caucus prevented Sue Bradford putting a forward a bill for the voting age to be lowered to 16.
            Is that trying to engage young people?

        • Ari

          Rosy, did you even pay attention to the conditions under which the greens would consider such a deal? It was basically that they swing dramatically leftwards. All it said was basically that the greens don’t care what the name of the party is, they care about getting the best deal for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

    • Jum 3.2

      Lefty said,
      “Each generation has to make its revolution in its own way. Sadly mine has focussed almost entirely on issues of personal choice, rather than the social and economic wellbeing of the majority.”

      Speak for yourself. I am into ‘ wellbeing of the majority’ for my children’s sake. Nobody’s listening.

      Protested against 35 year contracting out for water; under 10 people turned up in most districts.

      Protested in Auckland against all sorts like SOE assets being sold off, students’ rights being ignored, etc. etc.

      Nobody wants to know until it’s too late, and then I won’t want to know because people inherently are greedy, stupid or lazy or a combination of all three and deserve what they get which is probably nothing but bills and a fucked planet.

      Youth can then deal with that. It serves them right if they don’t take a bigger stand this year.

      Check out your local university. Ask youth if they have even enrolled for the general election. That would be an interesting question in itself.

      I held out such hopes for university students to take up the fight that the dispossessed and the tired and unemployed are just too exhausted to manage by themselves. My hopes have been destroyed.

      • HC 3.2.1

        Jum: You are so right, and I can only share your sentiment.

        We live in a world of too many narcissistic, superficial and excessively individualistic people, who grew into a world where everything is obtained or done by pushing buttons, at the instance of a second or less, where people have often unrealistic expectations and are totally dependent on technology that is owned and managed by network systems of almost exclusively commercially oriented enterprises.

        Social networking sites, email, twitter, skype, text messages, internet forums, online media websites, online shopping, or alternatively interactive gaming, whatever, it is a world with radically different forms of communication, where you do not need to face the other persons presence directly. It is not the same as face to face communication.

        Direct human contact is mostly only with the people we select to communicate with, hence there is less traditional social cohesion. What used to be “normal” for “baby boomers” and older generations is not necessarily “normal” for younger generations.

        So many have their own idividual aspirations, expectations and plans, and as long as they can rely on “opportunities” offered by the commercial world, or alternatively state agencies they may need to depend on for some times, then nobody is seriously going to rock the boat and question anything.

        As you imply or say, things may only change once it is too late to deal with a situation in a prepared way. It is one thing also to rely on Twitter, Facebook and other networks, in order to “organise” actions, it is another thing to actually bring about lasting change and to succeed in activities.

        It can now be seen in Egypt, how all that initial “revolutionary” spirit is slowly fading, being replaced by anger of some, by resignation by others, by political opportunitism of yet others and by the establishment (military, the economic lobby and bureaucracy) taking advantage of the disarray by slowly cracking down on it and seizing control again.

        So my hope for change to be achieved in the “modern” information networking way is quite small.

        Those who own and control production, communication and administrative systems have a damned lot of power. So thinking that you can change things by simply using their existing systems for communication and surprise mass activities is a bit naive.

  4. randal 4

    the guts of the matter is that new zealanders have become infantilised and spoonfed with devices that give the illusion of power over the world and the environment. By the time this cohort have to do something for themsleves their brains will have become either atrophied or sclerotic or “WHATEVER”.

  5. burt 5

    Allowing people to cast their vote online ( via Facebook 😉 ) might help.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      The US example shows that electronic voting is very susceptible to tampering.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        The US doesn’t allow voting by Facebook, but I bet if they did it’d have much better security than the companies that current create and sell the voting systems they use who generally have no public name recognition at all. In other words, if Facebook screwed up the security for voting, they’d be in a massive PR shit storm, whereas the current companies that *do* screw up the voting security by and large get away with it.

        • Andrew Geddis

          The US doesn’t allow internet voting at all … their “electronic voting” is by way of touch-screen terminals at polling places. It’s the difference between on-line banking and using an ATM … .

          There is to be a trial of internet voting in NZ at the 2013 local body elections (see http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=197244). Aside from the security issues (probably manageable) there is then the question of whether, if we make it too easy to vote, the franchise will lose some of its meaning/gravitas. After all, the community occasion of all traipsing together to common locations to join in choosing our representatives has a bit more behind it than does sitting at home, logging on and pushing a button (in between checking whether our offer on Trade Me is still the top one, and seeing whether anyone “likes” our last blog post).

          • Pete George

            I think getting as many people to vote would give elections more meaning than “the community occasion of all traipsing together to common locations to join in choosing our representatives”. Sounds a bit exclusive, like “do it my way or you miss out”.

            Whenever I’ve voted that’s all I’ve done, I’ve never felt it a community occasion, I’ve felt it as personal.

            I’d prefer to look at getting as many people to participate as much as possible.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Whenever I’ve voted that’s all I’ve done, I’ve never felt it a community occasion…

              Same here. I’ve always voted but it was never a social event.

              I’d prefer to look at getting as many people to participate as much as possible.

              Yep, which is why I believe that we need to have the importance of politics and voting emphasized at school preferably before the children hit 15.

              • It’s odd there is nothing like that now. Voting 101 from third form – the importance of voting and how our parliament and voting system works.

                Each election year each secondary school should have a parallel secret ballot and publish the results at least at the school (18 year olds exempt, compulsory for everyone else).

                I was talking to a couple recently, 25-30 age group, and explained how our MMP system worked and the importance of each vote. They are intelligent people, typical middle New Zealand, and they didn’t know and had never been told before.

                • Lanthanide

                  I remember having a lesson or two about voting in 4th form Social Studies (perfect class for it). I’m not sure if that was specifically part of the curriculum or just because our teacher wanted to teach that, though.

                  Can’t remember anything at all about it, but I don’t really remember much from high school in general.

              • Vicky32

                Yep, which is why I believe that we need to have the importance of politics and voting emphasized at school preferably before the children hit 15.

                Is that really necessary? Our parents took it for granted that we’d vote, as I did with my sons… I suppose parents aren’t doing that, perhaps they’re disaffected themselves?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Is that really necessary?

                  If people aren’t taught about politics, which does happen – my own family is proof of that, then when it comes to voting and being engaged they simply won’t be. They won’t have the self-confidence to do so as they won’t have the knowledge to support it.

            • Ari

              For sure, the only two things that are relevant to me in the structural sense of the voting system is how we can get as many people to vote as possible as easily as possible, and how we can manage that while still staying secure against voting fraud.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        Only because the US system was designed by their corrupt corporations to benefit the corporations. Done properly e-voting would have no more corruption/tampering than paper systems.

        • Ari

          If by e-voting you mean internet voting, sure. There is absolutely no good reason to use electronic machines at a polling place, however, given the security tradeoffs compared to paper ballots.

          • Draco T Bastard

            If you’re using internet voting then there’s no reason not to use it at polling booths. Voting machines that keep a separate tally should never be used as they’re open to abuse.

            • Ari

              There is a VERY good reason not to use it at polling booths: Because the only way to guarantee that your vote was counted as presented is to have a paper trail that is visible to the voter and is the document which is eventually counted, at which point you might as well be casting a paper ballot anyway.

              Unlike paper, software can count your vote one way while presenting to you completely different information, or have deliberate bugs that prevent you from casting the vote you wish to cast that aren’t immediately or universally apparent. Any paper ballot defective in that way would be immediately obvious to scrutineers and election officers.

              The point of allowing internet voting would be to expand the voter base, and you’d accept with it some of these insecurities, and in fact additional ones on top of them. (like that you’d be enabling vote-selling or intimidation of voters, seeing people aren’t voting in a public place and can potentially be observed while voting) That’s a trade-off that could potentially be worth it. But I don’t see how it would ever be worthwhile to switch from paper ballots in polling places given the incredible disadvantages of electronic voting in any form.

    • kriswgtn 5.2

      This is the first time ever Burt you have made sense well done you

      Alot of people feel this way- its a rigmarole to do it the way we cast votes at the present time
      Its slow tedious and takes ages if polling booth is busy
      It is time NZ stepped up and upped its game and made voting easier
      I mean who wants waste hours tryin to find a park and vote

      Shud be able to do it online in these times

      • Pete George 5.2.1

        Politicians ansd parties are very reluctant to try online voting. There was a NZ Electronic Electoral Trial in 1999, politicians backed off it when they realised electronic voting could easily be used as electronic referenda as well, that would take away their freedom and power as they would have to take notice of voters more.

        More about it here.

    • Vicky32 5.3

      Allowing people to cast their vote online ( via Facebook ) might help.

      I seriously hope you’re having a laugh, Burt…

  6. Olwyn 6

    For one thing, it is hard to escape the sense that we are now NZ inc, that politics is managerial rather than genuinely representative, and that we are effectively voting as to whether the next chief executive will be the guy from finance or the guy from HR. This does nothing to encourage active engagement, since people want their concerns to be taken more seriously than that.

    For another, we are are constantly subject to what Joe Bageant called “the hologram” – an information loop reinforcing a narrative that does not necessarily inspire belief, but occludes the sort of information that might permit one to believe anything. I was interested in the fact that someone here, I think it was Red Logix, heard Key being booed at one of the rugby games, or perhaps it was down at the opening ceremony. He next appeared alongside people whom it would be shameful to boo, the ABs & the Japanese PM, presumably because too much televised booing might pierce the popularity myth. I have not seen mention of his being booed anywhere but here. Even as recently as Helen Clark’s leadership, you could look at a challenge made to her and think about whether or not you agreed with it – she was not reduced to a fiction.

    Political communication of this sort offers no point of engagement, and it follows that the young will not engage because there is nothing clear on offer with which to engage, while older people, who remember things being at least somewhat different, continue to beat their heads against the brick wall and hope for a change.

    • Salsy 6.1

      Would be fantastic to get hold of that footage, apparently it was ‘Let’s Talk’ on Stratos Inv2, and the woman host said,”When they showed John Key’s face on the big screen at the waterfront, every one booed! John Key will know about this and that’s why they’re so busy now trying to fix things.”

    • clandestino 6.2

      Agree with the managerial politics point. Ask young people today who their local representative is and invariably the answer is a shrug of the shoulders. Councils and mayors offices are seen as run like businesses, it takes any passion out of it for most people. Most just can’t do the numbers game so politics ends up dry as.

      Plus the oldies just look and sound like donkeys and goofys when they’re giving their manufactured statements.

    • davidc 6.3

      Well Key certianly didnt get booed at the opening ceremony, 60000 people clapped and cheered. Loudly.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1

        I think I’ll take the word of someone who was there over a Jonkey lick-spittle.

        • davidc

          Well I was there…were you?

          • Colonial Viper

            Apparently davidc you are also claiming to be omnipresent, being able to hear all sections of the stadium at the same time, from where you were sitting.

            I don’t think so.

  7. Tangled up in blue 7

    In the 2008 general election over 600,000 eligible people didn’t vote.

    Considering most of this group come from “Low / medium socio-economic backgrounds” – It would be against Nationals interests for them to vote.

    • Salsy 7.1

      A friend of mine recently asked a group of youths walking past our office door who they were intending to vote for (long story, political debate was raging inside) anyhow they stopped and all yelled back MANA! I nearly fell over, they were mostly white and this was in Nelson.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Yeah, I’m quietly hoping that Mana will end up getting 6-7% of the vote, simply by dragging in non-voters, and in doing so completely screw up the chance for a 2nd National term.

        Given current Labour polling it seems the best we can hope for.

        • kriswgtn

          I decided to give my vote to Mana Party this year
          I dont like Goff and he needs to go
          I have voted since 1984 and nah Labour DO NOT deserve my vote so it goes to Hone becuase of Minto and Bradford being involved and I know I’m not the only one

          If Mana wasnt around I probably wouldnt vote this year

          • anarcho

            Yes I have just registered for the first time to vote for Mana – the potential of getting the cat in amongst the pigeons has temporarily over-ridden my disdain for reformism 🙂

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8


    You have identified the some of the symptoms, but have failed to identify the cause.

    This planet is run by money-lenders and corporations for the short term benefit of money-lenders and corporations. Governments are the implements money-lenders and corporations use to promote their agendas. Ordinary people are just the ‘slaves’ who get the day to day activities done that transfer wealth upwards.

    It has been said many times and is worth repeating: if voting made any difference the powers that be would make it illegal.

    The current major choice in NZ is betweeen a ‘screw-the-planet-quickly party’ and a ‘screw-the-planet-slightly-slower party’: the result is the same. Perhaps some young people are aware of that. However, I suspect that the majority are very poorly eduicated and have been bought off by the trinkets of consumerism, so they can’t be bothered.

    ‘So once again I want to extend a warm welcome to Generation Zero , and wish them every success in their goals’

    Presumably one of their goals is to have a habitable planet for their children to live on. Unfortuantely that goal is utterly incompatible with the present economic system, whicb is totally dependent on converting resources into waste, as expalined very clearly here;


    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      It has been said many times and is worth repeating: if voting made any difference the powers that be would make it illegal.

      The political-right are presently trying to make it so for the poor at least.

  9. infused 9

    Simple. You need to push online registration. No one wants to fill out forms and send them in.

    It’s as simple as that guys.

    • Vicky32 9.2

      Simple. You need to push online registration. No one wants to fill out (sic) forms and send them in.

      Are you saying that people are really that lazy? AFAIK, it can be done at the Post Orifice, and no ‘sending in’ is involved! It reminds me that in 2008, I would see people signing up voters in places such as supermarkets, and rather bizarrely approaching only Maori and Pacific people. and  then only Maori and Pacific people under 25 years old. Did they assume “oh white people are all rich and can take care of themselves?” I saw an Indian person  in her 30s or so, approach the electoral people (maybe to do a change of address?) and get knocked back. Not all racism is against Maori!

      • felix 9.2.1

        “Are you saying that people are really that lazy? “

        Not so much laziness as unwillingness to do things the old slow way for no good reason.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2

        Are you saying that people are really that lazy?

        Not a question of laziness but of improving our democracy. Once we go to internet voting then we can have even more say in what our government does. We can’t do that if we maintain the very expensive paper system.

  10. millsy 10

    Perhaps its because young people are sick and tired of being constantly pilloried and blamed for what’s wrong with society.

    Old people go on and on and on about young people being lazy slackers and they keep forgetting that back in ‘their’ time they had EVERYTHING handed to them on plate, including the award rate and penal rate job for life they could get when walking out of school when they turned 15, then when they turned 20 they could get married, have a child or two and then capitalise their family benefit to get a deposit on a house with a 4% housing corp mortgage.


    • thejackal 10.1

      Young people are not interested in politics because it’s a dirty mess that is predominated by old people who use the young for whipping up fear and hate. The young are grossly under-represented within parliament and those youngish MP’s that are there (with very few exceptions) are chosen because they have warped minds and will tow the line. Anybody who has the best interest of youth at heart is ostracized.

      The dead wood that is our Government does not represent the young in the least. Young people are misrepresented because the system is designed to disadvantage them and advantage the old. Half of National’s policies are clearly designed to make young peoples lives a living hell. Is it any wonder then that New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world? A rate that has increased since National took power in 2008.

      Youth not voting is just another indication that our society is ageist. It also indicates that many thousands of people have no faith that their vote matters. It’s a justified belief, because New Zealands political system is obviously broken.

      • kriswgtn 10.1.1

        Totally agree and the voting age needs to be dropped down to 16.Some 16 yr olds have work and work bloody hard and YET cos theyre under 18 they have no say in anything and theyre paying taxes on their wages
        SO yeah lower the age and start having policies that help the youth instead of preventing their growth

  11. infused 11

    Good to see you talking on behalf of all youth.

    I think none of you have a clue what so ever. It’s simple lazyness. Youth today sit behind a computer. Online Registration. Simple? Advertise it through MSN, google and Facebook and I’m willing to put money on it that registrations will go up massively.

    Youth don’t care what an older generation say about them.

  12. Mac1 12

    Another thing to push is that the period for voting actually starts early November (the 3rd?). People can vote without extra paperwork saying why they need to vote early before the actual polling day.

  13. prism 13

    Generation zero – That sounds like something empty. It’s important that if the young are to fill the gaps appearing in our democracy that they confer with older people who have some practical notion of what is needed, and ideals about sharing and fairness. People who don’t stop and think about what has gone before can just give the same treatment as the Roger Douglas zealots who thought they were being good sweeping away the old, but they threw away lots of good stuff, but when people are too ignorant to even evaluate worth in policies and restraints then what follows is likely to be just as insensitive as the previous parties.

    • Ari 13.1

      I agree with you in general, except I think it’s probably the older generation’s responsibility to engage people with their own wisdom when possible, not the other way around.

  14. Brett 14

    When I was young the only things I wanted to do was drink piss, smoke dope and root chicks.
    I doubt if thing have changed that much.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Obviously, not everyone is as shallow as you.

      Most people register and do actually vote – even of the young. The problem, IMO, is that some people aren’t politically engaged in by their families which means that, when it comes time for them to vote, they have little or no information about it and so no self-confidence and thus don’t vote. This is, of course, why I’m in favour of schooling covering politics in general and the need to vote in particular.

      • Brett 14.1.1

        Most kids are not interested in politics.
        It’s probably best if they sit out the elections until they are interested and can make an informed choice in who they vote for.
        This only comes with age and personal experience.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Most kids are not interested in politics.

          The evidence, they register to vote after all, suggests otherwise.

          It’s probably best if they sit out the elections…

          It’s only best for those who don’t want them voting.

          This only comes with age and personal experience.

          No, you fucken moron, it comes with being taught, being shown that their thoughts and opinions matter and that their vote counts.

          • Brett

            Go [even for robust conversation that’s more gutter than I like on a Sunday. r0b].
            With most teachers being of a socialist bent of course you want politics taught at schools, they would be perfect Alliance drones by the time they leave.
            You’re only interested in getting young people involved in politics because you think you can easily manipulate them and get them voting for what you want.

            • Pete George

              I think it’s far more important encouraging as many as possible to vote than worrying about how a teacher may influence them. There’s more chance of young voters making up their own mind if they are better informed about votong options, more chance of sheep voting if uninformed and just told who to vote for.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s the RWNJs such as yourself that manipulate people. All you’re doing when you accuse others of it is projecting your own psychopathy onto them.

              BTW, reality has a left-wing bias. If people are voting left it’s because they accept reality.

              • Brett

                BTW, reality has a left-wing bias. If people are voting left it’s because they accept reality.

                Think you might be pulling it a bit too hard there pal, you’re cutting off blood supply to your brain.

              • Strange attack on me DTB. And a strange idea about reality.

                • felix

                  It’s not all about you Pete.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I didn’t reply to you PG. And, no, it’s not a strange idea about reality. We really do have limited resources and we really do need to utilise them better than merely giving them to the rich for their own personal enjoyment.

            • thejackal

              Most teachers are socialists? Any evidence of that, or are you just talking out your arse again Brett? Perhaps you’re saying that educating people is socialism and uneducating people is capitalism… good point.

              What New Zealand needs to do is encourage the youth vote. This can be achieved by switching young people onto politics by giving them a good education. Young people are currently dissociated from politics because they often don’t understand what is going on.

              Youth sometimes perceive the government as totality, not individual parties. That same government has disadvantaged the young in New Zealand for many years. We’re asking them to vote for something that has done the dirty on them.

              The medias misrepresentation and politicians saying one thing and doing another are a couple of key points that need to be addressed… not to mention the unbalanced system that disadvantages the young and poor.

              National has no intention of increasing the youth vote to address the imbalance, because that vote is likely to go against them. Perhaps that’s why National decimated New Zealands education system. Uneducated people are less likely to vote, which is bad for democracy and good for a dictatorship. I know what system I prefer.

            • alex

              woah dude. woah. too much anger.

            • Hanswurst

              So, Brett, you are implying that these evil “socialist” teachers, while currently refraining from exerting undue influence on the children in their charge, will suddenly start brainwashing them just because politics happens to be an official subject in the curriculum? Your argument seems to lack a bit in the not-being-complete-bollocks department.

  15. Jenny 15

    Maybe it is a failure of leadership. Unimaginative and timid, to cowardly to boldly and honestly state the problems that we are facing, and throw out a challenge to the young to make the radical changes needed that would capture their imagination.

    • Afewknowthetruth 15.1

      Current political leadership is there to defend the system which transfers wealth from ‘proles’ to ‘elites’, rather like in Orwell’s ‘1984’ or Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and to deceive the general populace into thnking that everything is okay when it’s not.

      They have been remarkably successful up till now but the wheels will fall off very soon.

      Just how young people will respond when they realise the extent they have been misled and lied to is anybody’s guess.

      Peak Oil

      Peak Minerals

      Collapse of the consumer society

      Collapse of the industrrial food system

      Acidification of the oceans (death of the oceans?)

      Abrupt Climate Change

      Those are just a few of the numerous taboo subjects which will not be discussed during the coming election ‘circus’. They are all matters that were raised decades ago…. and have been ignored and ignored and ignored and ignored until it’s too late to deal with any of them.

      I see that National are sticking with the slogan that was so successful in deceiving the general populace at the last election: ‘A better brighter future’.

      A major jolt is still for flagged before the end of 2012, a full-scale implosion of western society is still flagged for 2015, and mass starvation is still flagged for around 2020.

  16. swordfish 16

    Polls suggest that 18-34 year olds are Labour’s (and the Left in general’s) strongest constituency (at least in terms of age).

  17. fatty 17

    The problem is democracy…

    The baby-boomers have the numbers so democratic voting ensures they maintain power and resources.
    Young people can’t be fucked cause the older generations are overall greedy and self-absorbed.

    This statement by Brett is so stupid it almost makes the other shite he’s posted seem slightly less stupid;

    “It’s probably best if they sit out the elections until they are interested and can make an informed choice in who they vote for. This only comes with age and personal experience.”

    No Brett, young people can’t be fucked and they are waiting for ignorant imbeciles such as yourself to die…only then will it be worth getting involved and attempt to fix your mess

    • Brett 17.1

      young people can’t be fucked and they are waiting for ignorant imbeciles such as yourself to die…only then will it be worth getting involved and attempt to fix your mess

      You will be waiting along time dickless.
      I’m generation X, the coolest of all generations.

      • fatty 17.1.1

        Meh…baby-boomers disappearing and capitalism disintegrating will occur about the same time.
        Same result, different route.
        Enjoy the ride…dude

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.2

        I’m generation X, the coolest of all generations.

        Word to the wise. If you have to call yourself ‘cool’ you’re definitely not 🙄

  18. logie97 18

    If individuals cannot be bothered to get out to a booth once every three years to vote, then they either agree with the status quo or deserve to be on the receiving end of whatever.

    We probably spend too little time in the booth.
    One or perhaps two ticks every three years.

    The ballot should also have a list of platform policy choices. (eg many may like the direction of the incumbent government but oppose one particular platform policy) The elected party should require a real mandate before they can effect change – take for example asset sales. It should be incumbent on a party to gain at least 50 pcnt support but more like 75 percent support for a particular policy change.

    As for electronic polling – must never be introduced at a national level. Too open to manipulation.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      As for electronic polling – must never be introduced at a national level. Too open to manipulation.

      No it’s not.

      One government maintained database, one set of online software, security tokens as part of the login process, people can check their vote after the election to ensure that it’s been counted correctly and can change it under the supervision of a JP.

      Very, very easy to prevent manipulation of an e-voting system. Actually harder to prevent manipulation of a paper system due to the fact that you have more people in secure places that causes more possibility of breaches.

      • logie97 18.1.1

        You think people who are apathetic about voting now would bother to check that their electronic vote was counted correctly having to be bothered to engaging a JP.

        Seems that many electronic systems are vulnerable to attack all the time. How would you know incidentally that an electronic poll was not being manipulated?

        • Vicky32

          Seems that many electronic systems are vulnerable to attack all the time. How would you know incidentally that an electronic poll was not being manipulated?

          This is of course the issue! I believe that in the USA no paper tally is kept of electronic votes, so it’s impossible to tell whether it’s been hacked or not!

        • Draco T Bastard

          You think people who are apathetic about voting now would bother to check that their electronic vote was counted correctly having to be bothered to engaging a JP.

          It’s emailed to them after the vote has gone through and I’m pretty sure that people will be pissed enough to engage a JP if their vote was wrong.

          How would you know incidentally that an electronic poll was not being manipulated?

          Did you see the bit about one database and one set of software? Right, that’s one step – there are others. I can assure you, online banking wouldn’t happen if it was as much of a concern as you think it is.

          • Colonial Viper

            After internet voting is allowed, the next thing the Tories will do is contract out the work to a private firm run by one of their mates.

            • Draco T Bastard

              That’s what the Tories would do, yes, so the answer to that is not to vote the psychopaths back into power and/or make sure that the government department for producing the systems is entrenched. Although, I have said before that the software should also be OpenSource which is also a reasonable security measure that can be taken. Don’t use proprietary software as it can be hidden too easily as the US found out and have, subsequently, done nothing about.

          • Bazar

            I love how people consider the success of online banking as some sort of example of how evoting could work.

            Of course its nothing like that.
            Voting is designed to be both anonymous and one way.

            Where as Banking is verified identified transactions, on a two way process (one receives, one sends, same amount both ways).

            And people actually check their bank accounts, banks check their accounts, and the goverment and its various agencies checks it for them as well. When money is moved, people pay attention. We have safe guards apon safe guards apon safe guards. After all, when money goes missing, you don’t want to be the one found at fault.

            Votes however are just votes, when votes are moved, few people notice. If votes go missing, little is done.

            And Internet banking ISN”T secure. Banks and customers lose billions apon billions each year in spite of all these safe guards.

            People who advocate e-voting have no concept of how fragile the e-voting system would be. With it being a one way system there are numerous points the vote could be tampered with and there wouldn’t be a paper trail at all, because its all digital.

            There have been examples, studies, and even fruad, one after the other, all showing just how fragile e-voting is.
            Of the top of my head, i believe recently in regional indian elections, there were hackers offering services to local indian officials offering to hack the systems to give a bias to them in return for money.

            Then there was the diebold machines which are wonderful examples of why it can’t be closed source.

            The concept of e-voting is a nice concept, but understand that once it is implemented, you would have to have a national ID system, and removed the anonymous aspect from voting so you could track not just yourself but others (at the very least, it’d have to be a lot less anonymous to reduce the scope of distortions).

            In addition, we don’t even have close to that kind of framework existing, and i don’t think NZ wants it either, so there aren’t even cost savings to be had trailing it.

            Finally, all the nut jobs (*looks at viper*) would quickly blame e-voting as being rigged then accept the outcomes they couldn’t accept.

            Stay away from e-voting for at least another decade or two. Let other foolish countries attempt it and find the faults with it. If any country is likely to get it right, it’d be Japan or South Korea, as they are pretty technically minded. Most Kiwi’s seem to struggle just checking emailing let alone e-voting.

  19. RedBaron 19

    I wonder if we are actually dispersing the information to young people where they will see it. I know of younger people who have had to direct friends to the location of polling booths as they didn’t know the location. Once you’ve voted a few times you know it’s the school, fire station, joe’s garage but I don’t know if this type of info can be accessed through facebook, twitter etc. I suspect, given declinig circulations, that newspapers are next to useless for this type of information dispersal.

    Most younger people (and myself too) now seem to rely on “word of internet” dispersal plus in my case, old fashioned billboards directing me to the right internet spot. Things that are common knowledge among some age groups like the “Downfall” cult movie knock offs pass the rest of us by.

    I believe Obama used the modern mass media very effectively, are our political parties doing so too?
    It would be nice to get back to the situation about 25 years ago when our non compulsory voting turnouts were in the 90’s and exceeded those of some “voting is compulsory nations”.

    Can we use the “herd” effect against the Nats? There is a lot of dissatisfaction out there but many people are reluctant to break ranks and say what they think about a supposedly popular prime Minister.
    As far as I am concerned his popularity is a myth spread by himself much as Peter Dunne spreads the myth about himself that ‘he is a good electorate MP’. If those who are respected and influential in their social groups speak out the ‘herd’ will turn.

    Finally thanks to Brett for the elctoral slogan that may work.
    “Raise the minimum wage to $15, more booze, more chicks, more dope”.

    Life was good back then.

  20. AAMC 20

    “I wonder if we are actually dispersing the information to young people where they will see it.”


    Ringt now, Wall St has been occupied by young people, it’s not on the news, but you can find it at #occupywallstreet on twitter.

    If the lest wan to mobilize the youth, they need to realize the content has moved. Follow the content, find your audience.

  21. HC 21

    Revolutions do not ask for permission to take place. They simply happen when enough people, who are able to set them in motion, are disgruntled enough to push for change that they see as necessary.

    There surely must be sufficient frustration amongst a fair section of younger people, to get the numbers to start decisive, group action to challenge the establishment we face.

    Or are most that go to university, politechnic or other training facilities totally focussed on “their careers”? Are the many unemployed youth so contend with getting a meagre dole paid, which barely pays the basics of a living? Is everybody satisfied or simply indifferent with what little they are offered, or otherwise denied?

    Is rebellion nowadays simply restricted to turning up your ipod or mobile phone very loudly while being on a bus, by writing a bit of graffiti here or there, by drinking in liquor ban areas, by urinating or swearing in public?

    Is this it???

    Sometimes I wonder, whether cyberspace is a new “sphere” for escapism from the reality around us, where we all are just IRD-, WINZ-, Studylink-, company-staff- and NHI-numbers?

    Or is consumerism the ultimate fulfilment, like: “I fell in love with my chocolate crunchy bar and wrapped up warm in bed tonight”?

    What about a massive radical “flash mob” along the length of Queen Street next Friday?

    This seems to be NZ2011.

  22. rosy 22

    Youth engagement in practice in Germany – the Pirate party, which is an internet freedom party that expanded to include social issues and citizens rights has won seats in the Berlin state election with 8.5% of the vote.

    Their irreverent campaign captured the imagination of young voters as the party expanded its platform from an original focus on filesharing, censorship and data protection, to include social issues and citizens’ rights. The party, which was founded in 2006, was “in tune with the Berlin vibe with their relaxed campaign”, Holger Liljeberg of the Info polling institute, told Reuters. “They focus a lot on liberalism, freedom and self-determination.”

    • Carol 22.1

      Well, it’s good to see young people politically engaged, rosy. However, in terms of the politics, it looks to me to be a far cry from the politics of occupying Wall Street. The Berlin pirate party looks to me to be very much in keeping with individualistic, consumer society values nurtured under neoliberalism. It looks like the politics off already-digitally-connected, and financially-secure people, who haven’t looked much further beyond their own circumstances. There doesn’t seem to be anything on their agenda about challenging the culture of debt fostered by financial institutions, or resource-depletion, or wealth/income inequalities.

    • nadis 22.2

      “They focus a lot on liberalism, freedom and self-determination.”

      Nothing to do with left wing politics then.

    • HC 22.3

      rosy: The Pirate party is so surprised about its success, their leader and members are flabberghasted and now suddenly realise that they better get to work right now, because their “program” so far is a collection of uncoordinated issues. The party is basically one founded after the success of a similar party in Sweden. They primarily focus on internet and modern communication technology issues, but now try to take a wider array of policies into their focus. I would not consider them to be seriously “left” leaning or worker focussed. They are “liberals” of a modern type, but likely to be more of a protest party with temporary appeal.

      • rosy 22.3.1

        The interest in this is because it is youth engagement, not whether it is left or right. And in reality as you say they are un-coordinated so probably don’t even know themselves where this will lead. The people involved in this party will now have to think about what they stand for. This can only be a good thing – youth leaders generating discussion and interest is bound to flow throw to their wider social networks. I can only see this as a good thing.

        Another interesting point in European politics is that even though the population is heading leftwards, it seems that at some level the established centre-left is fragmenting with parties further left picking up voters e.g. in Denmark. Only time will tell if it’s a blip or a trend and whether the established political order is evolving – defining itself outside the centrist muddle. I’m not unhappy about that. Mana and the Greens should be keeping an eye on it.

        • HC

          The problem with any “party” that does not have at least a common, unifying idea or concept, which is likely to catch on with significant numbers of prospective voters is, that it runs in danger of being a mere “fizzer” that will lose its buzz very quickly.

          The Pirates want more access to internet use, more freedoms to use such moder day tehcnology (which is fine), favour a more liberal drug policy and believe in bringing in questions into politics. They are liberal minded, but seem to have little suggestions about economic and social policies. Without addressing economic and social issues, I am afraid they fail to include very essential political topics whithout which no party will succeed in the long run.

          A discussion forum is good, but they should have done that before going into elections!

          • rosy

            What you’re saying is all true, but it’s not the only ‘truth’

            – They clearly didn’t know they’d need a discussion forum – they wouldn’t have expected to break the 5% threshold so convincingly.

            – Getting more than 5% of the vote says more about the relevance of mainstream politics to young people than it does about this party.

            – Of course it’s self-interest, youth and self-interest go together, don’t you think? as does impetuosity. And it’s not confined to youth. All political parties have a tension between self-interest and their beliefs about what is good for society.

            – Yes, they’ll have to work on other policies, and even if this party doesn’t develop it is giving all sorts of political skills to the people working on getting together to define what they believe in.

            – The most important thing about this is engagement. Political thoughts, ethics, morals, even how to live cannot be fully developed without political engagement, and mainstream parties aren’t communicating.

            – Because these people came together on a single issue there is no telling at the moment which way their wider policies will go. If it all falls apart the best of them, who would not have been noticed in the mainstream parties, will go on – because they’ve become involved.

            – Any mainstream party worth a vote will be looking at this, taking lessons, and evolving to incorporate young people’s issues in a way that connects with them – that is if it wants to remain part of the political landscape. They’ll also be looking at how these issues affect capitalism and in the long run a result like this might affect more change in the economic system that if this party, and the ones like it, across the world didn’t exist.

  23. aerobubble 23

    Until there are uptodate figures of how many young people leave NZ to work
    overseas, its all a bit of stuff and nonsense to go on about non-voting blocks.
    Many even when they return might not get back on the electoral role
    – be worried about paying their loans offs, I mean wasn’t that part of
    the point why the greedy capitalists agreed with loading up student with

    Never be a debtor be, you become a servile little brownie for the wealthy…

  24. Jum 24

    If enough small parties get a reasonable vote, then they will be holding both National and Labour to account.

    But if they then join with NAct they have nothing but my contempt; I’m sure that won’t worry them.
    The mythical lemmings, come to life, going over the cliff and dragging us all down with them.

  25. Jum 25

    A book review found on Trademe site:

    ‘In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion.

    Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet Saul shows that there has never before been such pressure for conformity.

    Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators.

    We are obsessed with competition, yet the single largest item of international trade is a subsidized market in armaments.

    We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics.

    We complain about “invasive government, ” yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are breaking down.

    While most observers view these problems separately, Saul demonstrates that they are largely manifestations of our blind faith in the value of reason.

    Over the last 400 years, our “rational elites” have gradually instituted reforms in every phase of social life. But Saul shows that they have also been responsible for most of the difficulties and violence of the same period. This paradox arises from a simple truth which our elites deny: far from being a moral force, reason is no more than an administrative method.

    Their denial has helped to turn the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded experts’

  26. Ross 26

    Well Anthony what the Standard can do is to recruit more youth bloggers. This twenty year old is keen to be read by a larger audience!

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