The ‘We Will Be Heard’ Youth Summit, organised by Auckland Council’s Youth Advisory Panel, brought together members of youth voice groups from 21 local board areas to hear from expert speakers on youth participation, and provided workshops to help up-skill these groups to be effective voices for their communities.
Important for young people to vote
Youth Advisory Panel chairperson Flora Apulu said that improving youth voter turnout is crucial for the perspectives of young people to be heard.
“Young people’s voices matter and voting is one of the most effective ways to get those voices out there."
"Seeing all those passionate young people at the summit, ready to get out and vote, is an encouraging step towards changing the stereotype of our generation as being apathetic. It’s inspiring to see.”
Just one-third of 18 to 29-year-olds vote in local government elections, and Ms Apulu said that there’s a lot of scope to make voting more engaging for this age group.
“While some young people might feel a little less engaged with a postal voting system, there’s huge potential to help ramp up young people's understanding of what council does, why the elections are so relevant to them, and why they should vote.”
Empowering talented youth leaders
Ms Apulu said that key focus of the summit was to empower talented young leaders across the region to help shift voter apathy by encouraging their peers to engage in the elections.
“Every young person is part of a community, and through everyday conversations, effective community organising and using social media young people can lead the charge to increase voter turnout among their peers.”
"Young people should also feel empowered to stand in the elections and bring to the table a unique worldview that can sometimes be overlooked or overshadowed."
"As for what young people will want to see from candidates and future politicians, I think that they will want to see candidates proactively addressing the issues that young people face. I think this would be attractive to young voters."
About the 2016 Auckland Council elections
The 2016 Auckland Council elections voting period starts on Friday 16 September and closes at noon on Saturday 8 October.
If you're enrolled to vote, your voting papers will be posted to you between Friday 16 September and Wednesday 21 September.