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Older voters have a handle on referendum

Nov 21st, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

By Katie McAlister and Siena Yates

OLDER people are more clued up about the upcoming referendum while younger voters remain uninformed and apathetic.

A Newswire poll showed only 30% of those asked could differentiate between the four voting systems, all of whom were over 60 years old.

The electoral commission has aimed to spread referendum information through the internet, leaflets, public meetings and a Kids Voting programme, but people are still uninformed.

Electoral commission spokesperson, Anastasia Turnbull, says the idea is to provide easy to understand information so people can make an informed choice.

“Registrars of electors have been visiting schools and tertiary institutions. Over 40,000 school students will be taking part in this year’s Kids Voting programme, [there is also a] brochure, a video, an 0800 enquiry service and community meetings nationwide,” she says.

All of the participants said Google would be their first port of call to find the information, but they simply had not looked yet.

A Newswire street poll asked:

1) Do you feel informed enough to vote in the referendum?
2) Do you know where to find the information?
3) What system will you vote for and why?

Linn Singleton (right), 63, Wellington City: “I think I have a reasonable handle on it. I’d just Google it. I think because I’ve been around for a little while, but it’s never too late to learn a bit more. There’s enough information out there for people who want to be proactive.”

Ann Ryan, 60+, Wellington City: “I favour MMP with some tweaking. You can be voted outone day and a list MP the next. Otherwise, I’d vote for STV because it’s fairer and has been successful in Europe. I think for people who aren’t informed, there’s not enough information out there, namely young voters, but if I want it I will seek it.”

Bernard O’Shaughnessy, 61, Newtown: “I’ve already decided that I’ll vote for MMP. It allows greater representation for minor parties. Before they brought in MMP we weren’t told enough about it anyway. Everyone wanted a change and MMP was operating in Europe, suddenly there were an extra 20 politicians. Either way there’s going to be an electoral commission and we won’t have a say in that.”

Alex Aliprantis (left), 39, Wellington City: “I don’t follow it at all. I understand the difference between FFP and MMP but that’s it. It’s bound to be on the internet. I’ll vote, but I don’t need to be totally into it – I’m just going to stick with MMP.”

Carl Sara, 34, Christchurch: “I will find enough information to be able to vote, but I don’t think that many people, including myself, would have enough to be able to differentiate between the systems.”

Britt Blann, 19, Paremata: “I don’t know anything about it. I’d like to, but I haven’t really searched for it yet. I intend to research it soon.”

Marcus Bokkerik ,24, Hawkes Bay: “No [it is] probably online. I’d keep MMP, I guess at the moment it seems to work for New Zealand.”

Jesse Clayton, 24, Wellington City: “No idea. I’ve been overseas for the past couple of years.
I’d probably just look online.”

Lisa Siaosi, 30, Porirua: “Not really. MMP but I’m not sure. I really need to find out more about it.”

Sara Elemam (right), 22, Wellington City: “No [I would] Google it. I’m not really informed, so I can’t really have an opinion. I’d keep it as it is because it’s fine and it’s easy, from what I’ve seen. I think I have just been a bit slack.”

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