First-time voters not to be overlooked

SETTING AN EXAMPLE: First-time voter Isabella Campbell and her daughter, Abby Rose.
SETTING AN EXAMPLE: First-time voter Isabella Campbell and her daughter, Abby Rose.

In a country where voting is optional and lives are busy, tuning out the perpetual promises of political parties can be more attractive than paying attention.

As a solo mum to Abby Rose, 7, Isabella Campbell said she was drawn to parties that "look after the little people". She wanted to vote in order to set an example for her daughter.

"I want her to appreciate what we have in the country and, as a mother, I want her to have opinions, ethics and to understand, and to see that I understand."

Campbell, 23, was eligible to vote last election but chose not to.

"I suppose I didn't care as such, I felt like everything was cruising along fine."

The Hillcrest resident said voting was a way to justify voicing her like or dislike of what's going on.

"At the moment I don't agree with some things that are going on, and I think I'm void of an opinion if I don't vote."

She felt many first-time voters were largely influenced by the way their parents voted, "and that depends on what industry your parents are in".

Small business owner Aaron Maisey will officially vote this year for the first time, despite being eligible to vote in the last three elections.

"Two words, transparency and accountability," Maisey said, adding he'd finally seen that with the Green Party. The 28-year-old confessed he drew a box on his form in the 2011 election which read "no confidence".

"I voted no confidence in last election because I hadn't seen accountability from any of the participants."

British expat Nancy EL-Gamel will take part in her first Kiwi election this year. The 23-year-old Wintec student has voted once before, in London, and admitted she'd let the charisma of candidates win her vote.

Policies surrounding education, social welfare and healthcare are what make her ears prick up.

She's turned to social media this time around to keep an eye on key players from a range of parties.

"I made a point of going through and following all the different leaders . . . and I think that's not something a lot of people do."

Jesse Widgery, 18, said he's feeling indifferent about voting for the first time because there's a shortage of election information targeted at young voters.

"I definitely think there's not enough pressure and there needs to be a push for young people to be voting."

Widgery, a music student at Wintec, wanted to give his vote to a party that cared about people and protecting the country's financial assets.

"I guess I care who gets into Parliament. While I'm in the country I do feel responsible for who's running it."

He said "word of mouth" and satirical current affairs TV shows such as 7 Days were where he got most of his information on political parties.

Dinsdale resident Faith Paea-Grey, 22, said she'd never voted due to having "no interest in politics" last election.

"I strongly believe that our government needs to live up to their standards and keep their promises."

Waikato Times