One of the issues being canvased in the lead up to this year’s election, is why a growing number of New Zealanders are not voting. Over 800,000 voters chose not to cast a vote in our last parliamentary election, and we’ve had a couple of spats amongst regular commenters here at Menz, about the validity of the vote, for men in New Zealand.
My prediction is that this year even less people will vote, and that appears to be a common concern in the political arena judging by the conversations that have arisen on various platforms. It has become apparent that no one, including politicians, actually have any idea of the demographic make up of this non-voting group, or perhaps more importantly, the reasons why voters are not turning up to the polls.
In respect of the question ‘why don’t people vote’ comments such as “they’re brown and rural” or “they’re ignorant and lazy”, (which is not particularly helpful) were thrown up, but I didn’t see anyone giving consideration to the possibility that it was more likely to be men than women, in this growing group of non-voters.
I think there is a growing number of disenfranchised men that are a big part of this group and as such on a men’s site, a better question might be, why don’t you vote?
Some commenters have already stated, that they do not vote – so let’s go a step further.
If you have voted in the past but are a non-voter for at least the last election, why did you stop voting?
Does the way that you have been treated as a man or as a father have any bearing on your decision not to vote?
If you have voted in the past, but are not likely to vote this election, what has changed; is it because you feel the current political climate in New Zealand doesn’t give men any reason to vote?
Is this an issue you discuss with other people?
Are there other people in your social circles or amongst your work mates that also don’t vote, or is this something you can’t be bothered discussing with other people?
If you are a non-voter, what would a political party need to do, or what would need to change in New Zealand, for you to vote in a future election?
Do you think that gender has no bearing on voting and there are other obvious reasons why so many eligible voters are not voting?
Update 22 September 2014: The election is over and the numbers are in.
It’s been a strange election and the percentage of enrolled voters casting a vote increased 2.84% from 74.2% to 77.04% but the overall number of people not voting has increased.
The percentage of people refusing to enrol is increasing. Numbers dropped a further 1.7% from the 2011 Election (93.4) to this election (91.7).
I don’t know the gender disparity of the group of non-enrolled. If the increase in this group is largely male, along with the already larger number of women in New Zealand, then we are seeing a further watering down of the male vote.