Helping Māori aged 18-29 understand the value of their vote is a key driver of a new programme to get more whānau enrolled and ready to go to the polls at the next General Election.
Published: Tuesday, 4 July 2017 | Rātū, 04 Hōngongoi, 2017
Little over a half - 55 percent - of people in this age group voted at the last election. Amongst Māori, they have the lowest voter turnout – and in effect, that’s more than 60,000 who hadn’t voted.
To motivate and inform rangatahi to enrol and vote, Te Puni Kōkiri has launched a programme with a social media campaign using Facebook Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. A mobile promotions team has also been set up to work with iwi radio stations at community events to spread the word and get people enrolled.
Te Puni Kōkiri Deputy Chief Executive Investment Lisa Davies said the first part of the programme is to answer the ‘why’ for our young people.
"Why is it important to vote? Why does your vote count?", she said.
"That conversation is key, because research tells us that before we can get people on board to enrol and vote we have to motivate them first and that’s where our social media campaign and promo team come into the equation.
“Once motivated and interested, rangatahi will then be open to getting the information and support we can provide to get them to enrol and to take the next steps to vote.”
The campaign has a four year life span leading into the 2020 General Election.
Voter turnout has been falling for a number of years, not just here in Aotearoa New Zealand, but all over the world. Some of the reasons people give are that they don’t think their vote makes a difference, they aren’t interested in voting, they are too busy or they just don’t understand how the whole system works.
“We have had to be real about our ability to capture the hearts and minds of people in our age group.
" Ultimately we know that it really rests on our ability to relate to their world and the issues that are important to them, using their language and their preferred channels to communicate."
The social media campaign #FFS Vote – For Future’s Sake Vote is using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to connect with 18-29 year olds.
“People in our focus groups of the same age selected the brand for our social media campaign because of its strong uncompromising call to action for them," Ms Davies said.
This is backed up by a mobile promotions team that will partner with iwi radio stations at community events around the country.
The campaign was launched in late June at the WelTec Main Campus in Petone, with the promo team securing 59 enrolments in just an hour.
She said the mobile team is crucial and has been trained by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Electoral Commission to help people enrol and to give them information about how and when to vote.
The programme is definitely not about telling people what person or party to vote for, “that’s their business,” Ms Davies said.
“Our sole focus is raising peoples’ awareness and providing information that motivates our people to enrol and to vote so it becomes a lifelong habit.”