Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe, newly elected chairman of Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee, is leading an inquiry into last year’s election which will include the low turn out.
While people in some countries are still dying to gain universal suffrage and others are going to great lengths in order to exercise their right to vote, turnout in countries like ours where democracy is taken for granted has been falling for years.
November’s low turn out was due to many factors.
Among them was reporting of polls which took a first-past-the post focus on National vs Labour rather than a total right vs total left and didn’t take into account the 15% undecided. This led to people thinking their votes wouldn’t matter.
But the major cause is growing disengagement from politics and the political process.
People who are interested in politics want to be part of the process and understand the importance of being informed and involved.
MMP has led to more parties with a chance of getting into parliament but I doubt if the total of their combined membership would be anywhere near the 100,000 plus that National used to have on its own.
You don’t have to be a member of a party to be engaged in or by politics and the political process but falling membership is a symptom of disengagement.