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Forgot or not interested – main reasons people don't vote

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The most common reason New Zealanders gave for not voting in the 2008 and 2011 General Elections was they ‘didn’t get round to it, forgot or weren’t interested', Statistics New Zealand said today.

Non-voters in 2008 and 2011 general elections: Findings from New Zealand General Social Survey shows 21 percent of people who didn’t vote in the 2011 General Election ‘didn’t get round to it, forgot or weren’t interested’.

A further 7 percent didn’t vote because they felt their vote wouldn’t make a difference. It’s interesting to see that this group has nearly doubled since the 2008 General Election, according to NZGSS manager, Philip Walker.

Age, income, and migrant status also made a difference to voting behaviour. Younger people were less likely to vote – 42 percent of people aged between 18–24 years said they didn’t vote in the 2011 General Election.

“People who feel they don’t have enough money to meet their daily needs are also less likely to vote,” Mr Walker said.

Whether people are migrants, and how long they have been in New Zealand also made a difference to their voting behaviour. Recent migrants had low voting rates, while migrants who had been in New Zealand for longer periods had very similar voting behaviour as people born in New Zealand.

The report is welcomed by the Electoral Commission, which is concerned about New Zealand’s declining voter participation.

“Declining voter engagement in our Parliamentary democracy is a problem that affects all of us and it will take a national effort to turn this worrying trend around,” Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer, said. “This research will further increase understanding of the problem, which is a necessary step in finding solutions.”

Read more in Non-voters in 2008 and 2011 general elections: Findings from New Zealand General Social Survey.

Ends

For media queries contact:
Colin Marshall
Wellington 04 931 4630 or 021 285 9191 
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Published 31 January 2014

Authorised by:
Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician
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