Finding the Missing Million Voters in New Zealand

University of Auckland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Finding the Missing Million Voters in New Zealand

  • Host University

    University of Auckland

  • Location

    Auckland, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Behavioral Science, Government, History, International Politics, New Zealand Culture, Political Science, Popular Culture, Public Policy Studies, Research, Social Policy, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    It is expected students will have completed at least two full years at a four year instituion at time of participation.

    • A demonstrated interest in elections and politics, and impact of both on public policy; an interest in youth voters would be an advantage.

    • Some experience with the analysis of datasets using basic correlations in SPSS, although some training could be provided.   

    • Capacity to learn and apply the principles and techniques of critical analysis and of primary data, media texts and grey literature; 

    • Excellent writing, critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills;

    • A capacity to work independently and as part of a team.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    At each election in New Zealand and elsewhere there is often much wringing of hands over the lack of participation of Millennials, the younger generation of voters, who seem less likely to engage with the formal act of voting, but care passionately about the environment and their local communities.  In New Zealand they have been called the “missing million” but to date we know very little about what they they think about political participation.  Drawing on international literature and datasets, and the results of the New Zealand election survey 2017, this project seeks to better understand what might motivate Millennials to participate in the public sphere and how they might differ by comparison with older generations of voters.  How satisfied with democracy are they, and what alternative avenues do they view as relevant to creating political and policy change?  How important are social media channels to sharing political information and community engagement?  Through an examination of these questions we aim to produce to a deeper knowledge of what the younger voters want and need from government and public policy to assure them of a future that is democratically and substantively inclusive.

    Alongside A/Prof Jennifer Curtin and Dr Gerry Cotterell in the Public Policy Institute the scholar will undertake research on the political participation of voters in New Zealand who are under 30.  This will involve gathering second order literature from New Zealand, and international scholarship, grey literature and reports from sources like the IDEA and newspaper materials that have discussed youth voting. Though a summary and analysis of these materials a series of hypotheses will be generated and tested against the data collected in the 2017 New Zealand Election Study.  Some comparisons with older voting cohorts, and previous election study results will also be possible.   In doing so the successful student will complete a 3,000 word literature review and data analysis with graphs and key points equivalent to 2,000 words and a comprehensive reference list (1000 words).

    The scholar will:

    •  Search online databases for relevant source materials
    • Perform data analysis of the already-coded 2017 election survey (with assistance from staff as needed depending on level of statistical knowledge of student)
    • Present the research in the form of a literature review and summary of empirical findings using text and infographics;
    • Write one blog post for the Auckland Policy Commons.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.