Get out and vote, Lorde urges youth

JESS MCALLEN
Last updated 07:22 29/07/2014
Electoral Commission

Kiwi singer Lorde has released a video in conjunction with the New Zealand Electoral Commission calling for young people to vote in this year's election.

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Lorde doesn't have a voice in this year's election but she's urging her peers to speak up for her instead.

The 17-year-old singer has released a video in conjunction with the New Zealand Electoral Commission calling for young people to combat low youth voter turnout rates.

"Right now I don't have a voice," the 17-year-old singer told the camera.

"And that's why I need you to use yours in this election."

Politics doesn't have to be about a bunch of old people in suits, talking about issues that aren't relevant to youth, Lorde said.

"Young people are creative. I think young people have the kinds of ideas that people older than us just can't have. And for those to be misrepresented, or for us to be represented by a demographic which doesn't really understand us...

"All these issues are just too important for us not to be thinking about, for us not to be representing our peers."

The video was praised by co-founders of RockEnrol, Sam Dyson and Laura O'Connell-Rapira.

RockEnrol launched in May to fight the country's drastically low youth voter turnout by using pop culture as a way to draw young people into having political conversations (that weren't boring).

"The reason Rock the Vote USA works so well (which we recently acquired the rights to franchise into New Zealand) is their strategic use of great cultural leaders.  Lorde for New Zealand is about as big as it gets," said O'Connell-Rapira.

The energy surrounding RockEnrol and the buzz created by recent Internet Party parties has given this election year a youthful twist, she said.

"We believe New Zealand could be the first country to see a turnaround in the youth voter decline happening the world over - we're small and nimble and clever enough to do it."

RockEnrol have partnered with people from Derek Handley's #theshouldertap community and Massey University's Design for Democracy groups (AskAway and On the Fence) to launch several different youth-based apps, the first of which come out on August 8.

In the 2011 election 42 per cent of 18-24 year-olds did not vote - compared with just 5.2 per cent of those over 65. The difference is staggering, says O'Connell-Rapira.

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