Campaign to enrol voters launched
A new campaign to encourage voting is being launched as statistics show Palmerston North has the third lowest rate of voter enrolment in the country.
The Electoral Commission's campaign uses real people speaking from the heart about why voting matters to them.
"We want all New Zealanders to think about why voting matters, to think about what it means for them, their family and their community," commission chief electoral officer Robert Peden said.
About 82.7 per cent of eligible voters in the Palmerston North electorate are enrolled. The Rangitikei electorate fared slightly better on 84.4 per cent.
The city's candidates had the same explanation yesterday when asked why they thought enrolment was down. "Palmerston North has quite a transient population and maintaining enrolment has always been a challenge for us," Labour incumbent Iain Lees-Galloway said.
"Between the student population and the people who come to work here on fixed-term contracts, it's just the nature of the types of businesses we have here."
National Party challenger Jono Naylor also said Palmerston North had "quite a transient population" with students, Defence Force staff and academics passing in and out of the city. The city's mayor and National candidate said a high number of the students he met while campaigning had moved to Palmerston North to study but were still enrolled in their home electorates.
Another issue was the timing of the election, Naylor said. The September 20 election is less than two months away but a lot of people thought it was later in the year.
Lees-Galloway said that was a trend he had also noticed. "It's still a couple of months out from the election and a lot of people are only just starting to pay attention to it now."
Both candidates have been enrolling voters as part of their campaign. Lees-Galloway said 20 enrolment packs were filled out in one morning at his party's stall at UCOL on Wednesday.
"A lot of people assume they're enrolled but they're not," he said.
Registrar of Electors for Palmerston North and Rangitikei Moana Kaka said her team had been out and about enrolling voters.
Students were one of their key targets but it was important that everyone checked.
The worst performer for enrolment was Auckland Central, where only 66.86 per cent of voters were enrolled.
The new enrolment campaign, and details on how to enrol to vote, can be found at ivotenz.org.nz