Masterton Intermediate pupils Jemma MacKenzie (left), and Amelia Morison casting their votes at the school’s mock election. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI
They won’t be at the polling booths for New Zealand’s general election this Saturday, but Masterton Intermediate (MIS) pupils got to have their say on Tuesday in the school’s mock election.
Schools across the country had the chance to register and play their part in the election process, and the results will be collated nationally.
The MIS pupils had the chance to vote for their preferred party and candidate, as will be the case in the general election.
MIS had previously held mock events for the 2014 general election, and the flag referendum.
If the results are any indication of what the adult population will vote for, Wairarapa will have a new MP on Saturday.
Labour’s candidate for Wairarapa, Kieran McAnulty, was the clear favourite among the students.
Mr McAnulty received 211 votes, with National’s Alastair Scott finishing second on 102, and New Zealand First candidate Ron Mark third with 53 votes.
Labour also came out on top in the party vote with 216, followed by National with 121 and the Green Party with 38.
Year 8 pupil Jemma MacKenzie said she would be backing Labour.
“My grandmother (Denise MacKenzie) is really into it — she used to be the Labour candidate for Wairarapa.
“I think it’s pretty cool that they’re doing this, and it’s good for people to see what the kids’ opinions are as well.”
Fellow Year 8 student Miti Waqa said he would be voting for Mr Scott, and that it was important for the younger generation to have their say.
“Older people vote and might pass away, but we’re going to be living with the new Prime Minister.”
Jarden Parata-French, Year 8, wasn’t sure who he would vote for, but said it was important to go through the process.
“We need to get into politics early so we know what we’re doing.”
Teachers Kate Hamill and Melissa Heard organised the event, and Ms Hamill said it was important for children to understand why we vote.
“Hopefully, they’re having good discussions at home with their parents about who is going to be running the country, and how it may affect them in the future.
“I think that’s really important.”
It was important for children to understand how a government was formed and how the process worked, she said.