"Whatever it is that you are passionate about or not happy with currently, IT CAN BE CHANGED!"

Kimberley | Campaigner and Student | Auckland

I voted in my first election yesterday, September 11th, 2017. I’m finally old enough to use my democratic right and vote. I remember ever since the elections of 2002 and 2005, going with my parents to the polling booths on the day of the election and waiting enthusiastically for the sticker that I would hopefully receive.

I have always vocalised my views and what I see as right or wrong, not only politically, but generally. The general election held every three years gives every New Zealander the right to have their say in what they believe to be right or wrong.

When I moved to Wellington earlier this year to study, so many things struck me in terms of what I wanted to change.

First was the flatting situation. I moved into an overpriced, damp, cold and mouldy flat, with no heating or insulation. I was an ambitious student leaving the nest of home, to find my independence in the capital. As winter set it, the problems began. Constant coughing from the dampness, mouldy clothes, below comfortable temperatures and a disinterested landlord.

Through these issues, I decided to get involved with politics. I spent hours researching and scrutinising each political party and came across one that I chose to volunteer for. Through this, I realised how with enough people engaged and passionate about issues that they care about, we can make a huge difference.

I have heard so many people tell me that they’re not going to vote in the election because:

  1. They can’t be bothered
  2. The election doesn’t affect them
  3. They’re not interested in politics

This frustrates me so much. I respect what they choose to do but just wish they would take the time to read up and have their say in our democracy.

Generations before us have spent decades and have risked their lives in the effort of getting the opportunity to vote. We, as the young people of New Zealand should not take this for granted. The policies that political parties are campaigning for now are the policies that will affect our everyday lives over the next decade, or even the rest of our lives.

The government determines pretty much everything that makes our country function: our taxes, our housing, our education, our economy, our transport and so much more.

Whatever it is that you are passionate about or not happy with currently, IT CAN BE CHANGED! Use your vote in this election to have a say on what you care about. I’m positive that one day, I’ll be able to find a dry, insulated flat because of my contribution in this election.

Yesterday, I got my own sticker and I look forward to my next one in three years’ time.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is a platform for students to voice their views and opinions to encourage healthy and non-abusive discussion.  The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations.

Author: Jessica Reeves