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Last days of the campaign

Thursday 18th September 2014

Just over a day to go. The extraordinary 2014 General Election campaign is almost over. But there are still some last ditch efforts to get out the vote, and to swing people’s preference.

On Saturday night The Wireless producers Megan Whelan and Elle Hunt will be live-blogging the election results. Expect animated gifs, sassy commentary, and up-to-date information. Probably in that order.

an animated gif of Nicki Minaj flicking her hair

READ: Making an informed choice. If only there was an unbiased, free, online resource to help you make up your mind... (Spoiler: There are! A whole heap of them!)

Frustrated with the lack of accessible satire in this campaign, Wellington-based actor Jack Buchanan, 22, has taken it upon himself to create a web-series. Following a fictional campaign for the boss of a Newtown flat, Jack says he’s aiming to get people thinking about what’s going on in politics. (Jack will be doing post-match analysis with Lynn Freeman during Standing Room Only on Sunday.)

A group of Year 13 students at Hillcrest High School have created a series of short films explaining different election issues – starting with MMP, and getting into taxation, education, and inequality.

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the “youth vote” in this election, with a lot of people trying to tell you what to think and what’s important.

One thing academics believe is that an election that seems close is more likely to get people out to vote. And an election that is dull will drive people away from the polls. Whatever else, this campaign has not been dull.

Otago University political scientist Bryce Edwards says a bland campaign with little difference between parties, people don’t tend to vote in high numbers.

“This has been one of the strangest, most bizarre, and most colourful campaigns in living memory. So even though voters might still have trouble trying to comprehend everything that has been going on in terms of Dirty Politics and allegations about mass surveillance of citizens, they will still find it interesting.”

Dr Edwards says he’s never seen such a strong message being sent to youth that it’s their duty to vote, and that if they don’t it’s lazy or apathetic. “When I am talking to some of my students, some of them are a bit worried, because they haven’t decided to vote for, they haven’t been convinced by any particular party, but they are having to make up their mind.”

If young people, or anyone for that matter, are not convinced by what’s on offer, if they’re not enthused by any of the parliamentary options, it’s quite OK to choose not to participate on Saturday

“If young people, or anyone for that matter, are not convinced by what’s on offer, if they’re not enthused by any of the parliamentary options, it’s quite OK to choose not to participate on Saturday… it’s a good thing that over the last few elections, that the decreasing voter turnout has got the attention of authorities and they can see there’s a problem and they can that there’s less youth engaging in politics.”

Dr Edwards says a lot of questions are being asked over why politics isn’t working for the public, and young people in particular. “We are starting to have a conversation about how we can improve elections, how we can improve democracy and the political parties… I’d be disappointed if that suddenly ends after the election because people feel that voter turnout increased, and people are back to being embedded in the system.”

Smart Kiwis Connect looks at issues facing New Zealand, and analyses parties’ social media use. And “digital community” ActionStation polled its members, and then used Ask Away to look at the parties policies on inequality, looking after the environment, and governance and democracy, and give them a grade.  

Artist Askew One has a simple message for you on Saturday. Regardless of whether your plans involve organic muesli

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