You’re a freshly-minted adult, and one of those rights is the ability to vote. You can vote for local councillors, for members of the national parliament
(Prime Minister John Key and his mates), and in referendums (big questions put to the public for a vote).
You might think … “boring, what do I care about politicians and stuff like that”. Sure, but you have to consider that in a democracy like New Zealand, voting is the only direct way to influence who speaks on behalf of you, your whānau, your community, and your country. It’s your voice, so exercise your rights!
To vote, you first need to enrol with the Electoral Commission.
1.) How to enrol
You have to enrol before you can vote. To do so, you can free text or call the Electoral Commission (check out their website for more info) or pick up a form at the local PostShop.
When you have enrolled, your name will go on the electoral roll, which is the list of people who have enrolled and are allowed to vote. If you are Māori, you can choose whether you want to be on the Māori or the general roll. If you are concerned about your safety or privacy when your name goes on the electoral roll, you can ask to go on the unpublished roll so you don’t get snooped.
2.) How to vote
Every three years, New Zealand holds a general election. This is when you choose the people and political parties who will make the decisions about the way New Zealand is run.
In New Zealand, we use a voting system called MMP. In a general election, you have two votes. The first vote is the party vote, where you vote for the political party that you most want to see in parliament. This is called the party vote and largely decides the total number of seats each political party gets in parliament.
With your second vote, you can choose the person you most want to be your local Member of Parliament (MP). They will represent your electorate (your local community). The person who gets the most votes in your electorate will be your local MP. If you ever have community or national issues you want to discuss, this is the person you speak to.
3.) Who should you vote for?
With political parties such as National, Labour, the Greens, Mana, The Māori Party, New Zealand First, United Future, and even Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party, you have a lot of choice. There are some savvy and committed advocates for your future … and some dropkicks. You’ll have to work out who’s who for yourself … just don’t vote for the dropkicks!
Source: Electoral Commission.