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A matter of value

Monday 31st March 2014

The word "value" is going to be thrown around by politicians and pundits left, right and centre in the lead up to the election in September. We'll be told about how a party's values are the values of everyday New Zealanders and how they will guide the country to a brighter future. We'll be told about the value of policies on the economy, education, health and justice. In the '70s and '80s there even used to be a group of politicians who simply called themselves the "Values Party".

A cynic might say that it's all just rhetoric, spouted out to get elected. There's a trend of declining engagement, especially among younger voters. In the last election voter turnout was just 73.8 per cent, the lowest in 120 years, according to the New Zealand Herald. Only an estimated 93.2 per cent of the 3,276,000 people who were eligible to vote were enrolled - and only 77 per cent or 337,000 out of 438,000 eligible New Zealanders aged 18 to 24 were enrolled.

In coming months, The Wireless will be looking at why people are opting out of voting and what's being done to turn this around. But this month the stories we'll be telling are about personal values, not the values of political parties, institutions or anyone else who wants to tell us how to think.

Eamonn Marra, whose story about depression and work was our most viewed story last month, talks about comedy values, Elle Hunt will be reporting on how marriage is valued today and Stacey Knott talks to hitchhikers and couch surfers about the trust they take in complete strangers.

But value doesn't just cover lofty ideas and ideals. We'll also have stories about money, fashion and family.

Hamish Parkinson opens the theme with a story about coping with the death of his father.

We're also going to be making it easier for you to gives us your opinion about the issues we cover too, with the launch of comments on the website, but you'll hear more about that soon.

Marcus joined RNZ to set up The Wireless. Before that, he slugged away as the Night Editor for Stuff and booked punk shows.