Welcome to WeHavePower, you would not believe how happy we are to have you here!
WeHavePower started out as a basic truth that’s wildly obvious to us, but is rarely reflected in politics or the commentary that surrounds it:
Young people are political. We’re smart, we’re critical, and we need good policy that works for us.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been scheming how we connect that power, that energy, and those ideas to the political system.
The facts from last election are this. Less than half of us aged 18-29 voted, and a third of us weren’t enrolled.
The problem is way more complex than media commentators let on. This isn’t about apathy, and it’s not about lack of understanding of the system.
As a group, young people in New Zealand are really diverse, so we won’t be able to explore all the factors at play here but we can start with two.
Firstly, it’s super difficult to get politically involved when you’re locked in focussing on the basics - paying rent, having enough to eat, and supporting whānau. Political marginalisation is closely connected to social and economic marginalisation.
Second, there’s a cycle of mutual neglect that goes on where politicians and parties ignore us because we don’t vote, and we don’t vote because we’re ignored by politicians and parties.
These problems were not created by us. It shouldn’t be up to us to deal with them. But we will be the ones to fix them.
The way we’re doing this is in a three parts. We’re asking young people what they want to see on the political agenda. Then we’re mobilising 18-29s to vote in the election. After that, we’ll be using the power we build to push the next government on the issues we’ve been told they need to move on.
This is going to take all of us. We’re so excited to welcome young people from across Aotearoa to come and build this movement with us.
Thank you for being a part of it, we’re thrilled to have you.
From all of us at the WeHavePower team across the country <3