We're hosting a debate for young voters

29 August 2017
Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment
Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment

The University of Auckland is partnering with TVNZ to host a special live debate focused on the issues that matter for young voters.

The 1NEWS Young Voters Debate will be a 90-minute special styled on TVNZ's Backbenchers show and held on the University campus.

It will be livestreamed on 1NEWS NOW, Facebook, YouTube and Duke TV, and simulcast on Newstalk ZB from 7.30pm on Thursday 14 September.

"This is a unique chance to understand and discuss youth issues in a debate as high profile as the standard TVNZ leader debates," says Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment, who connected TVNZ with the University and the Auckland University Students Association, and has advised on the programme format.

We've invited an audience of 100 young people from across New Zealand tertiary institutions, party lines and life circumstances to participate in the debate.

TVNZ Breakfast presenter Jack Tame will be directing a panel that includes a member of each political party:

  • Chris Bishop (National)
  • Kris Faafoi (Labour)
  • Chlöe Swarbrick (Green Party)
  • Shane Taurima (Māori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT)
  • Darroch Ball (NZ First)
  • Damian Light (United Future)

Billie Jo Ropiha will roam among the invited audience asking questions and seeking comment.

"We are delighted to be hosting the debate because young people are our leaders of the future and it's critical that they engage actively in our democracy," says Professor Jenny Dixon, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Engagement.

It's vital [to engage young voters]," adds John Gillespie, TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs. He says TVNZ is "hugely looking forward to the debate".

Vote Compass

The Young Voters Debate will also be informed by TVNZ's Vote Compass tool, which is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts.

Vote Compass enables voters to give their views on more than 30 policy or issue-based questions. The results are then calculated instantly so viewers can see how closely aligned they are to different party positions.

"It puts the voices of ordinary people on the agenda," explains Jennifer, who is the academic adviser to Vote Compass, and first introduced the tool to New Zealand for the 2014 election.

"As campaigns often end up plagued by personality issues and billboard slogans, Vote Compass plays an important democratic role ensuring discussions of policy — and public views on them — remain on the agenda."

Vote Compass 2017 was launched on Sunday 20 August and by early afternoon on Thursday 24 August it had already attracted over 107,673 users.

Vote Compass