Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Lack of appeal to younger voters partly to blame for low voter turnout

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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John Pulu | Presenter/ Reporter/Director

The National Party may have won the most votes on election night but it’s clear from just the provisional results, that voter turnout was also significantly down on the last two elections. 

While specials and the final vote count will not be confirmed until November 3, the total national vote turnout as a percentage of total eligible voters, was 78.4% (provisional) compared with 82.2% in 2020 and 79.7% in 2021.

That means some 21% of voters, equating to just over a million votes, did not vote.

In the large South Auckland seats like Māngere, where a significant proportion are Pasifika voters, the effect was the same although when Tagata Pasifika spoke with voters there, many had wanted to have their say on polling day.

“The reason why I voted, I wanted to make a change,” one person said.

Another person added, “it matters to me to vote, you know. Everyone has their own choice to do, you know, their own decision of life.”

At the 2020 election 31,6370 people voted in Māngere. This year only 19, 336 votes were collected.

Proud local and barbershop owner Fitz voted but adds that others didn’t feel their participation mattered.

“People are over it; people are over National, people are over Labour; it didn’t matter who was in.”

“I know people who have lived in New Zealand all their life 30-plus and haven’t voted so one thing could be, they didn’t grow up learning about politics and wasn’t told about voting so therefore, when they become an adult, it’s just not part of them,” Fitz says.

Following the results closely Tongan community leader Melino Maka is not convinced the parties did enough to win Pasifika voters.

“Over one million who didn’t vote and the bulk of it is under 40. You can see that it’s important for political parties to start to look at which are the blocks and actually tailor some policy to attract them back in,” Maka says.

The election produced a notable swing from the left to the right and former Māngere Labour MP Aupito William Sio hopes the new government won’t take away work they’ve started.

“I suppose you’ve got a remain optimistic that you got to give these people a chance, this next government to see what happens,” Aupito says,

“I think for Pacific peoples that’s what will happen, but yes disappointing as always when the turnout is low and I think we still got quite a lot of work to try and convince our population that their vote makes a difference and particularly that younger generation because they are the ones that have to think about the future,”

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