Every Vote Counts

August 25th, 2008

The Kiwi Expat Association sent its members an email alerting them to a new website and a new project: Every Vote Counts. See, there’s an election this year, and KEA, being a group concerned with expat Kiwis, wanted to make sure that all those eligible to vote, did. Why? Well, to quote their email:

We know that you care about New Zealand. Deeply.

Yet few New Zealanders living overseas vote.

In the 2005 election, only 28,000 actually voted – out of half a million Kiwis overseas estimated to be eligible to vote.

Most New Zealanders overseas want to vote. And over 90% are eligible1. But few know they’re entitled to vote, few know how to enrol, and even fewer actually vote.

 

That’s why. Now, the 10% who are not eligible would be those under 18 or who, like me, have been away from NZ for more than three years. But the rest- and permanent residents who have visited NZ in the previous 12 months- can vote and that’s who the site is aimed at.

The site claims to be non-partisan and to push no particular party, policy or programme, and it includes links to a variety of party websites- indeed, only three parties on their list don’t have links and that may be because they don’t have websites. Should they start to take a partisan slant, perhaps they could be reminded of the new Electoral Finance Act…. Whatever, at first glance (and I haven’t had time to take a more thorough look), it seems to hold to its non-partisan principles.

Well, I don’t get to vote, having been in China so long, but if you’re an expat Kiwi, you’ve been in New Zealand at some point in the last three years, and you’re interested in the election but perhaps a little unsure of the procedures for voting from overseas, this could be a useful starting point.

You won’t find me encouraging people to vote, though. Abstention and spoiling the ballot paper are equally valid political statements- unless you’re too lazy or apathetic to choose. Abstention or spoiling the ballot paper as a conscious choice and a statement that you have no confidence in any of the candidates or parties is what I mean. So check that site out, enroll, and make your statement.

2 Responses to “Every Vote Counts”

  1. Gareth Says:

    I sure as hell won’t be voting…it’s a choice between the lesser of two evils in fact I haven’t voted since the Alliance fell apart

  2. wangbo Says:

    Gareth, that’s exactly the approach I took the last time I was eligible to vote, which was back in 99. I was sitting there in Changsha looking at these ballot papers which had finally arrived only 2 or 3 days before the deadline thinking there’s no way China Post would get them to the nearest consulate on time, anyway, and even if they could, who the hell would I vote for? They all suck and I have no confidence in any of them.