Getting kids into local politics

Turnout for local elections has been sliding over the last 27 years (Getty)
Turnout for local elections has been sliding over the last 27 years (Getty)

Local government voting papers go out today, and while they can't vote, children are being offered a chance to get involved.

Local Government New Zealand's Helen Mexted says the Kids Voting Programme gives children a chance to learn the importance of voting.

"We know from voting stats that younger people tend to be lower voters than those slightly older. It's really about giving them the opportunity first-hand to understand what it is local government does, the important role they play in their community."

About 17,000 students from across the country are expected to take part in mock youth campaigns on the October 10.

Turnout for local elections has been sliding over the last 27 years - from around 57 percent in 1989 to 41 percent in 2013.

That's well shy of the 77 percent who voted in the 2014 general election and it's also a poor figure for deciding on who will shape the places people live - pavements, roads, water, parks, libraries, swimming pools, culture, sports and economic development.

And on Friday, Wellington mayoral candidates are set to get a grilling from children not even old enough to vote yet.

They've been invited to a forum where Save the Children and UNICEF will put up children to question candidates.

Organiser Lisa Woods saying it's all about making kids rights and interests a focus.

"Young people today have incredible ideas and insights on how we can go about addressing some of the biggest problems facing the country. They're not citizens in waiting; they're citizens here and today, and know a lot about what we need to do."

The event will kick off at Education House on Willis St at 12:30pm.

NZN / Newshub. 

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