By Nicholas Ross Smith (University of Auckland)
I unashamedly admit that I did not vote in last year’s election, even though it’s meant having to put up with tedious carping from friends who believe that voting is essential to “having a say”. The main reason I passed on my right to vote was disillusionment with modern representative democracy. A democratic façade built on a myth that voting once every three years (in New Zealand’s case) is sufficient democratic participation.
It seems that I am not alone in my current antipathy to the electoral process, as voter turnout is has diminished significantly worldwide in the last three decades (New Zealand’s dropped from 93.7% in 1984 to 77.9% last year). While British Prime Minister David Cameron talks about extremism being the biggest challenge of contemporary times, I believe that apathy (nihilism being its extreme form) is a far greater problem…
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