Young voters 'don't know enough': Vandervis

A crowd of about 130 turned out for the mayoral forum at the University of Otago today. Photo:...
A crowd of about 130 turned out for the mayoral forum at the University of Otago today. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
City councillor and mayoral candidate Lee Vandervis brought the house down - in all the wrong ways - at the first of Dunedin's mayoral debates today.

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
The event, at the University of Otago's main common room, was organised by the Otago University Students' Association and watched by a crowd of about 130 mainly younger students.

But, when candidates were asked what they would do to engage with the youth voice and increase voter turnout among students, Cr Vandervis bucked the trend by saying he did not want to see more younger voters.

"They don't know enough about candidates. They don't care enough about candidates,'' he told the audience.

Instead, it was better to focus on having "educated'' voters, he said, as members of the audience reacted.

"Sit down,'' one yelled.

"What about our democratic rights?'' shouted another.

The debate attracted 13 of Dunedin's 14 mayoral candidates, as only Cr Andrew Whiley was unable to attend.

Candidates were asked a range of questions - including on climate change, student housing, transport and the Te Tiriti o Waitangi - before being invited to give a closing statement.

Time limits were strictly enforced, given the size of the field, but a unofficial straw poll after the forum - using jars and tokens - showed strong support for Green Party candidate Aaron Hawkins.

However, there was late controversy - of sorts - when fellow candidate Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle discovered his name had been left off his otherwise empty jar.

 - More in tomorrow's Otago Daily Times.


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Well Done Cr Lee Vandervis, - As always keeping it real and saying it how it is.
Looks like Hawkins has possibly hypnotised the young uni students to vote for him. Even thou I don't really like Hawkins and what he stands for. He does have some very good Tui Bill board quotes -- Yeah Right, I'd follow him out of plain curiosity and amusement. Keep up the good work Cr Lee Vandervis

"I'd follow him out of plain curiosity and amusement".
That's some seriously bad humor that os going to impact directly on Dunedin $$$.

"Time limits were strictly enforced, given the size of the field, but a unofficial straw poll after the forum - using jars and tokens - showed strong support for Green Party candidate Aaron Hawkins".
God help us if he gets anywhere near the mayoralty.

Good on Lee Vandervis and I agree with nivaman on Mr Hawkins.

'Ratepayers' this, ratepayers that, is the blinkered mantra. The vote is not a propertied franchise.

The common behaviour of students in Dunedin reflects their intellect - zero. The majority of younger people have been brainwashed and If they think that the Green Party candidate is a good choice, we're doomed. Cr Vandervis' comments are correct, We need informed residents to vote in a good Council and Mayor, vastly different to what we've had to put up with for the last nine years.

Spoken like the baby boomer he is. Entitled, and after having enjoyed the best of times wants to deny his/her privilege to the younger generation. Makes me ashamed to be a baby boomer!
The guys incapable of getting along with people and totally destructive in his relationships with younger people.

I completely stuffed up my comment today on young voter numbers by saying that I did "not want to see more younger voters" and was going to add that more informed voters rather than just more people voting was my preference, but my poor opening choice of words caused a clamour that drowned the point i never quite got to make.
What I had meant to say at today's OUSA election forum was that I wanted younger voters to make more informed choices about candidates, rather than just getting more young people voting.
This was entirely inappropriate given that those few of Otago's 20,000 students attending the electoral forum were exactly those who did take an interest and were making an effort to be informed.
To these informed and interested young voters, I unreservedly apologise, and hope that perhaps as a result of my gaffe, there may be more of you engaged as the election campaign progresses.

I think the worst part is that 2 year residents (students) will get to have a say on the running of our city, where they pay zero rates and have zero respect for the city, as is obvious with their behavior

Good* to see the dinosaurs out in force. Cr Vandervis is a liability, and attracts the type of voters who don't want to have to think too hard or deal with actual reality. Cr Hawkins seems to actually understand how to get things done - working with the other councillors and council staff, and acknowledging the constraints imposed in the real world, rather than sitting in his pram throwing toys.

* actually it's kind of depressing

NWP did you ever think Hawkins is a sheep and follows and goes where the majority is headed and or where the Greens in Wellington are heading, a type of a foot soilder for the Greens, a pathetic one at that but never the less a foot solider. Where Cr Vandervis is more of a leader and asks the correct questions of what if/s and why, why, why, type of person, throwing out other options that the sheep may not have thought of or considered. IMHO Cr Vandervis is not boxed in or easy lead by the fools on council and will not go with the flow because others are. I'n a 23 year career, I have seen new bosses come in change the direction where people of Hawkins makeup follow them down the path yes Sir yes Ma'am certainly, where others Like Cr Vandervis will stay strong and true to his beliefs, point out the What if's and ask the Why, Why Why's. As a result others see such people as trouble makers. I certainly don't. I see him as the next solid leader of Dunedin. When Lee Vandervis becomes Mayor I hope he will also have a side kick that will also ask him the same questions of What if and Why why why. but it will not be seen as rocking the boat or being difficult.

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