"Find something you're passionate about and go from there."

Tori | Ocean lover | Waikato

I've always loved the ocean. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived minutes away from the beautiful Blueskin Bay in Otago, and I spent as much time there as I could. The ocean has always held a special place in my heart, as well as the creatures that live within it.

When I started to get older, I realised not everybody shared the same view as I did around keeping the ocean a sacred place. Oil drilling, fishing trawlers, and rubbish are only a few examples of the threats to the ocean that I became more and more concerned about as I got older.

This is one of the biggest reasons that I vote. Not every political party places marine conservation at the same level of importance as others, and I believe that it should be one of our highest priorities, especially because our country's reputation and tourism rely on the Clean, Green, New Zealand image.

Did you know there are less than 50 Maui dolphins left in the world? The sweet, playful dolphin native to New Zealand is becoming extinct because of threats to its habitat. The first ever political march that I attended was in Tauranga in 2014, protesting the proposed oil drilling that would directly impact the Maui dolphin.  I was amazed by the sheer number of people who felt as passionately as I did. That year was my first time voting, and when deciding who to vote for, I took my feelings on marine conservation into account when making my choice.

So my advice to those who are unsure who to vote for, or even if they're going to vote at all, is find something that you're passionate about, and go from there. Whether it be animal rights, immigration, education, health services, climate change - whatever it is, use that to motivate you to get your opinion out there through voting.

Make your thoughts count, and make your voice heard!


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