Home Blog NEWS: New Zealand General Election 2020 - The Final Countdown

NEWS: New Zealand General Election 2020 - The Final Countdown

• Political Participation

As we are all aware, the 2020 general election is drawing near, and voting will be starting very soon. Politics may not be everyone’s favourite topic, but it is very important to have your say so make sure you are as prepared as you can be.

This year is obviously going to be a bit different to previous years because of the COVID-19 restrictions and the need to stay safe while making sure your voice is heard. To make sure this can be done, various voting stations will be open from 3rd October to 17th October. This will ensure there is plenty of time for people to vote while maintaining the appropriate social distancing. If you need more information on where to go in your area and when, you can go to vote.nz website where they have number of search options to Find a Voting Place.

This website has all the information you need about the 2020 general election as well as the referendums. It is critical to ensure you are enrolled so you are eligible to vote. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can watch this short video to find out more or simply follow the instructions on the website to enrol online. There are also options for getting information in your language so do check that out if you’re concerned about your English language abilities.

It’s important to understand what and who you are voting for so take some time to find out more. You can also learn more about how to vote so you can better understand the process and how your vote will be used. Basically, you get 2 votes: one for the party and one for the candidate you would like to be the member of Parliament in your area. If you’re not sure who they are, there is a search tool to find out who the candidates are in your electorate.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all the political hype and aren’t sure who to vote for, there are a couple of pretty handy tools to help with that too. There are two online surveys that are not run by the Electoral Commission and have been designed to help people better understand how their views align with those of the various political parties. The first is called On the Fence and the other is Vote Compass.

On the Fence is an online survey designed by Massey University with the help of The Design+ Democracy Project specifically to help younger voters to decide who to vote for. The idea is to get make information about political parties and what they stand for more accessible, and to encourage younger votes to get involved. How it does this is through the use of a questionnaire that helps people understand, in simple terms, how their personal values match up with those of the various political parties. The parties were asked to respond to the same questions that are presented to voters in the survey. An algorithm was then developed to help measure your compatibility with those parties. The Design+Democracy Project also made another similar tool, called Cannabis Convo, to help people better understand the cannabis referendum.

Vote Compass has been launched in NZ by TVNZ is similar to On the Fence in terms of what it does and how it works. However, it is an international initiative where the On the Fence is a locally developed tool. Vote Compass has been used in countries such as Canada, Brazil, France, Australia, and Germany. It was developed by political scientist at Vox Pop Labs who design apps that collate information through surveys. The advantage of Vote Compass is that it is a collaboration between leading New Zealand academics and an independent international organisation. This means it has a wide reach, enabling it to provide thorough, in-depth insights into public opinion and values.

These tools are meant as guides only. The results only give you very basic idea of how your values align with those of each political party. From there, it is up to you to do your own research and look at the policy more in depth. Ultimately it is your responsibility to know who and what you are voting for.