The general election will be held on September 23. The election allows us, the people of New Zealand/Aotearoa to have a direct influence on who will represent us in parliament by means of voting. Voting is important. It is a privilege, a responsibility and our civic duty. It enables us to effect the direction in which we want our society to go, and what we hold important for the future of New Zealand/Aotearoa. We may look at this from an individual perspective or from the perspective of the future of our children or from the perspective of the country as a whole on the international stage. There are a lot of factors to consider when we go to cast our vote, and it is important to not only concentrate on the policies that have recently been released by each party but also the ideology and kaupapa (principle) of each party. By looking at their priorities, for example in business, the environment or social justice, you will have a greater understanding of their values and see how they align with your own. When we cast our vote it is vital that we think about what each party is offering in policy and their future vision for the country.
Preceding governments and interest groups have made the voting process simple and accessible and there has been a great push for our youth to actively engage in the political process, which has seen a significant rise in youth enrolments. It is our responsibility as parents to encourage them to think about what the future may look like and to participate in this process of change. The uptake of youth enrolments has occurred by committed and determined individuals, disseminating information and reminding youth of their value in determining a future they may want. These groups are motivated by appreciating the importance of a democratic society and how the power sits with the people. Kate Sheppard and the women’s suffrage movement made way in 1893 for New Zealand/Aotearoa to become the first self-governing country in the world to give women the right to vote. Voting and being active in politics is something that we should not take for granted.
A political party’s total number of seats in parliament comprises a mix of list MPs and electorate MPs. As a region we need to vote for our electorate MP, who will represent our community in parliament. Other things to consider when voting may be a candidate’s views on infrastructure, including our roads, health, law and order, access to services, education, or protecting our unique environment. What has been their past performance?
Do they have a presence in the community, engaging in local events? Will they advocate for the community interest or their own? Do you believe that they would represent us in such a way in parliament that our community’s needs will be heard?
The parties you can vote for are:
• New Zealand Labour Party
• New Zealand National Party
• ACT New Zealand
• New Zealand First Party
• The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit
• The Green Party of Aotearoa/ New Zealand
• Maori Party
• Mana Movement
• Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
• Ban 1080
• Conservative Party of New Zealand
• Internet Party
• United Future New Zealand
• The Opportunities Party
• New Zealand People’s Party
• New Zealand Outdoors Party
If you are not enrolled to vote, go to election.org.nz, call 0800 367 656 or go to I Vote NZ on Facebook.
Maria Collins and Angela Crabb