Why people don't vote

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 14:51 31/01/2014

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The young, the poor and recent migrants were less likely to turn out for parliamentary elections than other voters, a survey has found.

The Statistics NZ survey found the most common reason given for not voting in the 2008 and 2011 General Elections was they "didn't get round to it, forgot or weren't interested", with 21 per cent of non-voters citing that reason.

A further 7 per cent did not vote because they felt their vote would not make a difference.

"It's interesting to see that this group has nearly doubled since the 2008 General Election," general social survey manager Philip Walker said.

Age, income, and migrant status also made a difference to voting behaviour.

The survey found 42 per cent of 18-24-year-olds said they did not vote in 2011.

"People who feel they don't have enough money to meet their daily needs are also less likely to vote," Walker said.

Recent migrants had low voting rates, while migrants who had been in New Zealand for longer periods had very similar voting behaviour to those born here.

The Electoral Commission has welcomed the report.

"Declining voter engagement in our Parliamentary democracy is a problem that affects all of us and it will take a national effort to turn this worrying trend around," chief electoral officer Robert Peden said.

"This research will further increase understanding of the problem, which is a necessary step in finding solutions." Turnout in the 2011 election was 74.21 per cent, the lowest for more than a century.

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- Fairfax Media

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