Young people share on being first-time voters and the youth vote

Amy Baker / Stuff.co.nz

Upper Harbour's youth share their concerns this election.

Young Upper Harbour voters are approaching their first vote with equal doses of excitement and nerves.

More still want to see the voting age lowered.

As of July 31 across New Zealand, 64 per cent of those aged 19 - 24 were enrolled to vote, compared to around 62 per cent per cent of 18 - 24-year-olds in 2014. 

Student Kane Sagar, 18, said he felt confusion around politics.
Amy Baker

Student Kane Sagar, 18, said he felt confusion around politics.

North Harbour News asked young adults from the Upper Harbour region about their experiences as first-time voters and the youth vote.

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Confusion, excitement and wanting more political knowledge were just some of the thoughts of first-time voters.

Kane Sagar, 18, said he had found politics confusing and felt "daunted" at thought of voting. 

"I never really thought about politics until now. Once I turned 18, it was like, okay, that's a new thing for me," the Massey High School student said.

Phoebe Subritzky, 18, said she wanted to see special assemblies or small-group time during academic counselling sessions given to discussing politics.

"I don't think people put in the time to give us young people a really big political understanding because we are so young."

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Massey High School deputy head boy Te Ruki Pierce-Dunn, 18 said he was also nervous but excited.

"I truly believe that even my vote does mean a lot. I mean, all the youth votes mean a lot, and I'm just excited for the fact that my say is included."

More than seven per cent of Upper Harbour electorate's voters are aged between 15 and 19-years-old.

Even for youth in favour of lowering the voting age, they still thought there should be rules in place as safeguards.

Albany Senior High School student Benjamin Forrester, 17, said he felt youth voting should be based on criteria, such as paying taxes, rather than age.

He is in favour of seeing the voting age lowered to 17. 

Hobsonville Point secondary student William Lynch, 15, said one risk was people not taking the vote seriously.

A system to prove a voter's capability and justification would be needed, he said.

Jessica Lee, 17, said she thought the vote should also be lowered by a year or so.

"A lot of people who are 17 like me, we have a lot of things that we want to vote for but we aren't able to. I feel like that's a lot of people that the country is missing out on," the Albany Senior High School student said. 

Fifteen tertiary institutions have also joined a national campaign, We Have Power, in an attempt to get every student voting.

 - North Harbour News

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