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Maddy Holland, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Sociology and Social Policy 06.10.23

Election season is upon us, we are constantly told that our voice matters, our vote counts, but why is it that the youth of Aotearoa are statistically less likely to head to the voting polls? We sit down with Rubette Maddy Holland as she shares with us her experience and learnings as a rangatahi working within the political landscape.

StatsNZ shows that political participation and voting among young people is about 20% lower than those aged over 65, about 70% to 94% (StatsNZ, 2018). So why is this? Perhaps young people are not feeling heard by their political leaders, perhaps you feel as though your biggest concerns aren't being represented?

Kia ora koutou! Ko Madeline Holland tōku ingoa.

With elections right around the corner I am here to share the importance of getting involved, whether that action be big or small, having your say and contributing to your community is so important.

Growing up I was surrounded by politics. My great grandfather was an MP in the 70’s and 80’s and my whanau were always reflecting on his time in Parliament. I grew up hearing stories of change making, political landscape and influence and the importance of having your say. Following in his footsteps, I decided to study a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Sociology and Social Policy at Victoria University of Wellington from 2019 to 2021. To be studying politics in the place where it happens in Aotearoa was exhilarating, I really got a feel for the atmosphere politics creates, where angst and passion meet legislation and policy. Earlier this year I finished my Masters of Global Studies at the University of Auckland, where I was able to focus my political interests specifically on indigenous rights on both a local and global scale.

I am only starting out in my career. For the past year I have been working for Parliament as a political advisor to two Auckland based MP’s, to be able to create real change and support the communities I am working in is so gratifying. This is a dream role for me. I have always been fascinated by the inner workings of government and to be able to walk the halls where my great grandfather once walked is something I am very proud of, no matter how confusing the floors of the beehive are! They all look the same!

During my time at Parliament, specifically in an election year, I have come to understand the importance of voting. This election feels a little different than the last. This year the results as shown by pre election polling conclude that we are headed for a tight election. Stats NZ shows that political participation and voting among young people is about 20% lower than those aged over 65, about 70% to 94% (StatsNZ, 2018). So why is this? Perhaps young people are not feeling heard by their political leaders, perhaps you feel as though your biggest concerns aren't being represented? Or that you as a person are not represented among our political parties? We can be heard and make change through our right to vote. I encourage you, even if you are feeling overwhelmed by the current political landscape, first off, I feel you, and second there are some great resources out there that can help you with your decision such as 1 news voting compass! This election it is more important than ever to have your say, research and look into the policies that best align with you.

No action is too small, voting is your right, and you should exercise this right.

Whakawhiti korero, have your say!

Written by Madeline Holland, Ngā Puhi

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