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Thursday, 21 March 2019 03:39 pm

More millennials eligible to vote at this election than baby boomers


The word generational change has been thrown around a lot this election, due mainly to the rise of Jacinda Ardern.

However, the most significant generational change this election is perhaps not the leader of any one political party, but the voters themselves.

The 2017 election is the first in which more millennials are eligible to vote than baby boomers.

The question is, will they?

There is no doubt that millennials choice to vote or not can sway elections, we have seen this recently in both the United States with President Trump, and in the case of Brexit.

If millennials decide to vote in this election, it is pretty clear which way it will go.

In a recent SSI Newsroom poll, the 18-24 age groups favoured Labour 65% compared to 14% supporting National.

It is also true that young people are less likely to vote.

In 2014 only 63% of 18-24’s turned out on election day, compared to 65-69 year olds who turned out at 88%.

At 21, Jess, who does not want her last name to be used, was eligible to vote in the last election, but chose not to.

“They don’t think they matter” Jess says when asked why this might be the case, “they think that parliament is just old white guys, and they’re not going to care about younger people.”

This view was echoed by many of the Wellington Central candidates.

Wellington Central incumbent MP and Labour Candidate Grant Robertson says that politicians are not speaking to young people in a way that is relevant to them.

“I think that as politicians we are not really speaking to young in a way that they understand,” says Mr Robertson.

He believes that the change in Labour Party Leadership will help engage young people.

“More and more young people have become engaged and she (Jacinda Ardern) is a person they can relate to.”

Wellington Centrals National Candidate also believed that relevance was the key to engaging more youth in politics.

“I think the thing is Wellington is that’s great is that people see politicians all the time” she says,

“People see the influence it (politics) has on their lives.”

“We need more New Zealanders to feel that way by making politics more relevant to them and their lives.”

Jess felt that student issues might be something that got her out to vote this year, despite being in the final semester of her degree.

“It’s made me more likely to vote because it’s helping future students” she says, “I’ve gone through that, I know how hard it is to work and study full time.”

So, is Jess going to vote this year?

“I think I’m slightly more invested now, so I think I probably will.”

Hopefully, the rest of the 37% of young people who didn’t vote last election think the same way.

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