It’s super important that we vote
Young people in Aotearoa have been shut out of politics for way too long.
Last election, less than half of under 30s voted. Only two-thirds of us were even enrolled.
The stream of boring, avocado-based commentary citing millennial entitlement and apathy will have you believe those statistics are on us.
We know that that could not be further from the truth.
It’s difficult to get politically engaged when unstable work, poor housing conditions, and debt-ridden education have left us scrambling for the basics - paying rent, eating food, and supporting whānau.
Political marginalisation is deeply connected to social and economic marginalisation.
We’re made to feel like politics is what happens in corridors of buildings we’re not even allowed through the doors of. That it’s the business of old Pākehā men in suits.
The system isn’t working for us.
This is no accident. Politicians and parties ignore us because we don’t vote, and we don’t vote because we’re ignored by politicians and parties. It’s a cycle of mutual neglect.
Elections should give us something to hope for. They should speak to the issues that affect us on the daily, take stock of where New Zealand’s at and provide realistic solutions.
Forget the slogans, and forget the selfies. For us to engage with elections, we need them to be smart and we need them to actually speak to our reality.
The thing is, we can make that happen.
We didn’t create this problem, but we will be the ones to fix it.
As young people, we are an 800,000 strong, powerful, change making political force when we turn out to vote. We’re 22% of the total eligible population, and if even 4 in 5 of us voted this September we’d be the strongest voting bloc in the country.
We have the power. Let’s use it.
Aotearoa needs to step up and take on transformative policy that will change the game for young New Zealanders.
We can step up to be a global climate leader by committing to carbon zero by 2050.
We can give students enough to live on during their tertiary study so they can focus on their education - not on how they will get their next meal.
We can teach Te Reo Māori universally in schools to all our kids and ensure our indigenous language lives strong.
Politics needs the energy, ideas, and optimism of young people.
This starts in September. We need to turn out to vote, then use the power we build to make sure the next government takes meaningful action on the issues we need it to.
This is a milestone in the shaping of Aotearoa, and we are at the centre.
Let’s do this.