by Lauren Morley, Year 13 Student, Kaipara College
I have always believed that exercising the right to vote is one of the most important things a person can do to contribute to society. In my experience, the voices and opinions of young voters are often overlooked, so I wanted to use this opportunity to share my own voice as well as a couple of other first time voters from Kaipara College.
As I have grown increasingly aware of the way in which our country is run and decisions are made, I have immersed myself in as much political and civic knowledge as practicably possible. During the lead up to this election, I thought about where I will be and what I will be doing over the next 3 years, as well as what I want for this country as I grow older. As someone who is moving into university halls of residence and a new city next year, there were several issues which were important to me when casting my vote. Like many people of all age groups, the cost of living was a big factor in my decision, particularly the cost of petrol and healthy foods. I am a big believer in cheap and accessible public transport (which would benefit both me, and the environment), and in 2025, I will most likely begin renting, so affordable housing and healthy home standards largely contributed to my vote.
“During this election cycle, my specific interest lay in the antagonistic relationship between the wealthy and the workers. As a young person, this is a relationship I myself am entering so I think it best to stay informed and vote for the collective interests of the working class. Modern information on this subject is often clouded with bias and propaganda so I largely formed my understanding and opinions from historical essays and ideas that I then applied to the modern context which has made me feel like I am voting in the most informed way I can.”
“As a first time voter at 18, this election felt pretty important! Finding information about policies from different parties was difficult, as some don’t particularly cater to young people. I felt cost of living was massive and what drew me in was policies focused on remedying this. After seeking out information, what piqued my interest the most was wealth and capital gains taxes. I found that some parties made a great effort to engage with young voters and others didn’t. This was important too, I wanted to feel that the party I was voting for would represent myself and my needs in parliament. Overall, the most important issues to me this election were renter’s rights, the housing crisis and cost of living crisis”
This article was particularly important to me as I hope to forever advocate for young people and their right to be heard and represented. I acknowledge my bias in regard to this topic; however I encourage you all to never discount young voices as they will pave the way for our future.