Recent “gobsmaking” voter shifts in the UK away from the Tory Party (closest equivalent in Aotearoa being the National Party) reveals a couple of points of interest leading into our NZ general elections.
First, election polls are certainly not definitive, and at worst unreliable and misleading (this was also demonstrated with USA 2016 election polling which was way off the mark): always best to triangulate polls against other data points about what’s really happening on the ground in the hearts and minds of the people.
Second, the massive increased youth turnout had a major impact on the UK election result. The younger cohort is trending stronger ecological values and greater compassion for humanity; they’re unafraid to demand radical, creative, real change, knowing their generation has earned the right because they’ve unfairly and involuntarily inherited previous generations’ legacy of social instability, a warring world and existential climate crisis. While idealistic, however, they still understand the way forward must be paved with practical, action-oriented, collaborative-building, environmental, economic and social solutions which can be implemented with urgency.
Importantly as well, millennials are astute enough to recognize not only the progressive increase in specific austerity and life-destroying ‘establishment’ policies by successive Governments, but also the underlying structural violence that operates at the macro (constitutional, institutional, cultural and economic) level to undermine and undo any hard-earned life-nurturing policy ‘wins’ achieved along the way.
In short, these young adults are tired of the status quo pointlessly reinventing itself every election cycle, and is ‘so over’ former generations doing such a hash job of things – and who can blame them?
I look forward to young voters forcefully mobilizing in the coming months. They have the power to tip the scales on 23 September towards creating a Government that ensures them - and every citizen - a meaningful say in New Zealand policy decision-making moving forward.
(p.s. If its improved whānau wellbeing you’re after, note that the odds of one’s vote influencing the election outcome in favour of better economic conditions are much better than winning the lotto (because every vote counts!); plus, voting’s free! And finally, if you’re interested in (a) earning good income, while (b) helping with the critical work of voter registration, contact the New Zealand Electoral Commission on Facebook at “I vote NZ”, or (0800) 36 76 56).
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