Young Gisborne voters to be a loud voice

Gisborne’s 18 to 24-year-old age group has the 16th highest enrolment rate in the country.

Gisborne’s 18 to 24-year-old age group has the 16th highest enrolment rate in the country.

Newly elected president of the the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) Rory McCourt

GISBORNE youth could be some of the most politically involved in the nation, with enrolment rates more than 15 percent above the national average.

Out of 67 electoral districts, Gisborne’s 18 to 24-year-old age group has the 16th highest enrolment rate in the country at 81.86 percent (66.52 percent is the average national rate).

Of the 4150 youth eligible to vote, 3397 have enrolled.

For the 24 to 29-year-old age group, 2530 of the 2820 eligible to vote are enrolled. Just 290 of the eligible voting population are not enrolled.

This makes the Gisborne district’s 24 to 29-year-old age group the 12th most enrolled in the country — a rate of 89.72 percent.

This is also well above the national average of 76.53 percent.

EIT Student Association local manager Nicky Campbell says they have 559 students in the 18 to 25-year-old age range.

“It is great to see Gisborne featuring near the top of statistics for young people enrolling to vote.”

“We firmly support democracy and actively encourage students to have their say. We regularly host Elections NZ at on-campus events to encourage our students to enrol.”

Hosting Elections NZ at orientation days for students has had an impact says Electoral Commission communications and education advisor Richard Thornton — with 91 enrolment forms collected over 2015 and 2016 events.

Spike in enrolments

Mr Thornton says they see a spike in the number of enrolment forms received when an enrolment campaign is held before an electoral event.

Rob Coe-Tipene works in relationships and recruitment at Te Wananga o Aotearoa Whirikoka Campus.

He says the adage of more younger candidates could have something to do with the high rate of youth enrolment.

“We have more younger — under 40 years of age — candidates than ever. I think it is great for the region.

“As a result we have had an increase in social media campaigning that resonates with a younger generation.

“This has engaged younger voters who would normally switch off when it is election time.”

Lytton High School principal Wiremu Elliott says, there has been a lot of discussion around enrolment and politics at his school but not a deliberate plan.

However, he has noticed a growing awareness among youth of “the power of their voice” over the past two years.

“More and more schools have been seeking student voice for more than just their experiences of a learning course or programme, but for what and how schools are doing things.”

This is just the beginning, he says

“I suspect that the democratic student voice will get even stronger over the next two to three years.”

Figures are not 100 percent accurate, as they are based on estimated population statistics as at June 30 and 2013 census data and enrolment statistics as of August 31.

The fault in this system is shown in Central Otago’s 18 to 24-year-old enrolment rating — an impossible 104.71 percent.

Carterton has the highest rate of enrolment for the 25 to 29-year-old age group at 92.08 percent.

The Chatham Islands have the lowest rates for both age groups — 42.50 and 30 percent.

GISBORNE youth could be some of the most politically involved in the nation, with enrolment rates more than 15 percent above the national average.

Out of 67 electoral districts, Gisborne’s 18 to 24-year-old age group has the 16th highest enrolment rate in the country at 81.86 percent (66.52 percent is the average national rate).

Of the 4150 youth eligible to vote, 3397 have enrolled.

For the 24 to 29-year-old age group, 2530 of the 2820 eligible to vote are enrolled. Just 290 of the eligible voting population are not enrolled.

This makes the Gisborne district’s 24 to 29-year-old age group the 12th most enrolled in the country — a rate of 89.72 percent.

This is also well above the national average of 76.53 percent.

EIT Student Association local manager Nicky Campbell says they have 559 students in the 18 to 25-year-old age range.

“It is great to see Gisborne featuring near the top of statistics for young people enrolling to vote.”

“We firmly support democracy and actively encourage students to have their say. We regularly host Elections NZ at on-campus events to encourage our students to enrol.”

Hosting Elections NZ at orientation days for students has had an impact says Electoral Commission communications and education advisor Richard Thornton — with 91 enrolment forms collected over 2015 and 2016 events.

Spike in enrolments

Mr Thornton says they see a spike in the number of enrolment forms received when an enrolment campaign is held before an electoral event.

Rob Coe-Tipene works in relationships and recruitment at Te Wananga o Aotearoa Whirikoka Campus.

He says the adage of more younger candidates could have something to do with the high rate of youth enrolment.

“We have more younger — under 40 years of age — candidates than ever. I think it is great for the region.

“As a result we have had an increase in social media campaigning that resonates with a younger generation.

“This has engaged younger voters who would normally switch off when it is election time.”

Lytton High School principal Wiremu Elliott says, there has been a lot of discussion around enrolment and politics at his school but not a deliberate plan.

However, he has noticed a growing awareness among youth of “the power of their voice” over the past two years.

“More and more schools have been seeking student voice for more than just their experiences of a learning course or programme, but for what and how schools are doing things.”

This is just the beginning, he says

“I suspect that the democratic student voice will get even stronger over the next two to three years.”

Figures are not 100 percent accurate, as they are based on estimated population statistics as at June 30 and 2013 census data and enrolment statistics as of August 31.

The fault in this system is shown in Central Otago’s 18 to 24-year-old enrolment rating — an impossible 104.71 percent.

Carterton has the highest rate of enrolment for the 25 to 29-year-old age group at 92.08 percent.

The Chatham Islands have the lowest rates for both age groups — 42.50 and 30 percent.

Political youth advocate and former Gisborne man Rory McCourt says it is time youth challenged local leaders who have “been in power for decades but have not turned around terrible unemployment numbers”.

“Or got our rail back on track or made Tairawhiti a place where there are enough economic and cultural opportunities for young people — all young people — to stay.

“Young people should vote every time we have a chance,” said McCourt, who is now living in Australia and working as the Australian Council of Trade Unions digital campaigns officer.

“It is an opportunity to tell those in power what is important and what kind of future we want.”

Mr McCourt has been involved with the Labour Party since high school. He was Tairawhiti Youth Council president in 2010, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association president in 2013 and New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations president last year.

He has also been on the Labour Party’s list ranking committee.

“If our current local leadership does not start really standing up for Gisborne and our future, I think you will find young people taking them on.”

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