“Most adults I know don’t vote,” says 11-year-old Joshua Pahl from Kaitaia Intermediate School. 
That’s one reason why Joshua is hoping the Vote Room Three Elections will inspire more children to take an interest in voting once they become eligible. “I think it’s a really good idea. If we start when we’re younger maybe we’ll vote when we’re older. If I don’t vote I have no reason to complain.”

Room three hosted an election for their class on September 19 which evolved out of receiving the kids’ vote box. “It kind of just grew,” says room three’s teacher Justine Gamble. “It all started with the kids’ vote box being sent out.”

Gamble says she wanted to make the election more relevant and interesting for her students so they decided to personalise it. Students formed parties where they needed to elect a leader, press secretary and policy makers. Leaders had to speak to Gamble through their press secretaries and listen to policy makers so everyone was able to be involved in the election.

“It gets other kids talking,” says Gamble. “Otherwise some kids like to dominate.”

Technology was high on the agenda. Among the eight student-led parties was the Tech party led by Joshua who was campaigning for free wifi to be paid by a gst on junk food and for all learning games and apps to be free.

The Recruits Party won by six points. Their policies were free wifi and technology in schools to be funded by a gst on clothing shops.

Aleeshia Ujdur leader of the Craft party who campaigned for free books and beach clean up days says their kids’ election helps them to think for themselves.

“It’s a good idea. It’s a good opportunity for the kids to think what they want to do.”

Sarah Harris
Fairfax Media

The Recruits Win Tom Bamber, Reno Leef & Robert Dijkstra (Prints Harrahs absent)

The Recruits Win
Tom Bamber, Reno Leef & Robert Dijkstra (Prints Harrahs absent)