You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Greens go for the young voters

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/04/2017 Peter Wilson, Political Writer

The Greens are making a bold push for support from young voters and it could pay off - if they can persuade them to turn out on September 23.

The party's provisional list, released this week, has two newcomers in winnable positions and they're both in their twenties.

Chloe Swarbrick, 22, made a name for herself in Auckland's mayoral election, coming third with more than 26,000 votes.

The Greens currently have 14 MPs and Swarbeck is 13th on the provisional list.

The party's support is holding up in the opinion polls, so she should make it into parliament.

Jack McDonald, 23, is in an even better position at ninth on the list.

It's a big reward for a candidate who has stood in electorates for the Greens in previous elections - he was 18 when he first gave it a go.

The list still has to go through the party membership before it's final, but it will be surprising if Swarbeck and McDonald don't hold their positions.

The party has been able to give them their big chance because two old-timers are retiring, Catherine Delahunty and Steffan Browning.

The Greens have always attracted young voters, but it's hard to turn that into success at the ballot box.

There's a clear trend in the Electoral Commission's voter turnout statistics - many young ones just don't turn out.

That could be the reason why the Greens have had higher opinion poll ratings than they've actually achieved on election night in the past - young voters answer polls by saying they'll vote Green, but then don't turn out on the day.

The commission's figures show 37.27 per cent of enrolled voters aged between 18 and 24 didn't vote in the 2014 general election.

That wasn't quite as bad as the 25 to 29 aged group - 37.89 per cent of them didn't vote.

From that point on the turnout figures steadily improve.

In the 30 to 34 age group, 32.6 per cent didn't vote.

In the 35 to 39 group, the non-voters were at 27.2 per cent.

By the time you get to the 70-plus group, only 14.25 per cent didn't vote.

That's one of the reasons NZ First's Winston Peters spends so much time making speeches to Grey Power meetings around the country.

He knows that if he can swing his audience NZ First's way, most of them are going to get to the ballot boxes.

The Greens have to work much harder to get the gains they need, and they know it.

It's likely to give its young candidates maximum exposure during the campaign, and hope they get traction in the media.

Swarbeck has the big advantage of being known in Auckland because of her mayoral election exploits - it's called name recognition and it's vital in a campaign.

Expect a campaign that's built around a "fresh new look" Green Party that aims to persuade young voters they're really being listened to.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon