Friday, October 14, 2011

Young voters appear ignorant - suits the National government...

A pro-MMP poster from the 1993 referendum camp...Image via Wikipedia

Lack of knowledge surprises MMP supporters

A "surprising" number of young voters did not know there was an alternative to MMP, say supporters of the voting system.

About half a dozen MMP supporters were in The Square in Palmerston North yesterday handing out leaflets and talking to passers-by about MMP.

Campaign organisers John Shennon and Lawrence O'Halloran said they had been surprised by the number of young voters who were not aware that there were other voting systems besides MMP. Mr O'Halloran said many young people were not interested in politics.

Some had not even been born in the early 1990s when the referendums to introduce MMP were held.
The pair said the response to MMP had largely been positive.

"I am yet to come across anyone who is vehemently opposed," Mr Shennon said.

Some people had "nagging issues" about MMP such as the thresholds required for a party to enter Parliament, he said.

But Mr Shennon said MMP would be reviewed if it came out of this year's referendum as voters' preferred option.

Keep MMP planned similar rallies for the next couple of weeks, it had been invited to speak to several organisations and it had paid for an advertisement on a city bus, which should be ready by the weekend.

There will be two questions asked at the referendum held in conjunction with this year's general election on November 26.

The first asks whether voters want to keep MMP or change to another voting system.

The second presents four systems for voters to choose from. They are the first-past-the-post, preferential voting, single transferable vote and supplementary member systems.

This week, the Electoral Commission began its information campaign about the referendum, with brochures mailed to every household in New Zealand.

Chief electoral officer Robert Peden said a series of advertisements had been designed to help voters understand what the referendum was about and where they could get more information.

"The Electoral Commission wants to help voters feel confident they are able to make an informed choice when they go to vote in the referendum," he said.

Acknowledgements:  - Manawatu Standard
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