Academic predicts a 'youth yawn' in New Zealand election

A political scientist has predicted that for young people, the New Zealand 2017 election is going to be a bland affair if our politicians don't step up to the plate.

Bryce Edwards says New Zealand won't see the 'Jeremy Corbyn effect' in the 2017 election, because our politicians just aren't exciting enough.

He told The Project on Friday that the youth vote could only make a difference "if political parties were actually giving out policies that engaged and attracted youth".

Mr Edwards says it's not young people's fault that they're not turning out to vote. Instead he says: "It's actually the politicians that have failed, it's the political system that's failed and we should be pointing at them.

"It's the politicians that need to be more engaging, they need to be actually offering a product that youth want to buy if you like. They need to be actually stepping up to the plate and coming up with something a bit more inspiring."

He doesn't think that New Zealand has a figure that could prove to be as popular as United Kingdom Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"No. That is the problem. When young people look at the politicians on offer, we're looking at Andrew Little and Bill English and you know I don't mean to be mean but they're not exactly exciting," he says.

"I think this election is going to bore people a lot. It's going to be a fairly bland affair and without anyone like a Jeremy Corbyn to electrify youth and be that lightening rod, we're not going to see any sort of youth-quake in this election. It's going to be a youth yawn if anything."

He says that the opposition parties are in the best place to be able to mobilise the youth vote.

"Labour and the Greens in particular, they're more in a good place to attract some of the revolt we're seeing overseas, this anti-establishment vote. It could put them over the line and change the Government."

What's the 'Jeremy Corbyn effect'?

Mr Corbyn campaigned on the manifesto 'For the Many, Not the Few' in the May 2017 snap election.

He didn't win the election, but 63 percent of young people aged 18 to 29 voted for Labour, according to YouGov. It's been touted as a 'youth-quake'.

Labour gained 40 percent of the vote to the Conservative party's 42.4 percent, according to the BBC, increasing their share of votes by 9.5 percent since 2015.

It resulted in a hung Parliament, widely seen as an embarrassing result for Conservative leader and Prime Minister Theresa May who had campaigned on a "strong and stable government".

What's New Zealand's youth vote like?

  • Only 40 percent of 18 to 24 year olds voted in the 2011 election
  • That increased to 63 percent of 18 to 24 year olds who voted in the 2014 election

There are 99 days to go until New Zealand votes in the 2017 election.

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