University of Auckland, August 24, 2017
For the first time during a New Zealand General Election, the University of Auckland is partnering with TVNZ to host a special live debate focused on young voters.
Called 1NEWS Young Voters Debate, with Vote Compass, it will be a 90-minute special debate styled on TVNZs Backbenchers show and held on the University Campus.
Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations said, This is a unique chance to understand and discuss youth issues in a debate as high profile as the standard TVNZ Leader debates.
She connected TVNZ with the University (and Auckland University Students Association) and has advised on the programme format.
The University has selected a private audience of 100 youth from across New Zealand tertiary institutions, party lines and life circumstances who will participate in the debate as it is streamed live on 1 NEWS NOW, Facebook and YouTube, Duke TV (Freeview 13 and Sky 23), and simulcast on Newstalk ZB, from 730 pm on September 14, 2017.
Popular TVNZ Breakfast presenter Jack Tame will be directing a panel that includes a member of each political party: Chris Bishop (National), Kris Faafoi (Labour), Chloe Swarbrick (Greens), Shane Taurima (Mori Party), David Seymour (ACT), Darroch Ball (NZ First) and Damian Light (United Future). A second presenter 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 its critical that they engage actively in our democracy, Professor Jenny Dixon, the Universitys Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Engagement said.
It is vital (to engage young voters), John Gillespie, TVNZs Head of News and Current Affairs said and added, hugely looking forward to the debate.
The Youth Debate will also be informed by TVNZs Online Vote Compass tool, which is sponsored by the Universitys Faculty of Arts.
Vote Compass enables voters to give their views ranging from strongly agreeing, to strongly disagreeing, 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, Dr Lees-Marshment who is the academic advisor to Vote Compass, and first introduced the tool from Canada, to New Zealand, for the 2014 election, said.
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 August 20, 2017 and by early afternoon on August 24, 2017, it had already attracted over 107,673 users.