While the Government has a real-world impact on our daily lives, there has been a general decline in the number of people deciding who represents us in Parliament. At the 2017 General Election, around a third of 18-23 year olds were not enrolled, and of those who were, around a third did not cast a vote. 88% of people over 65 voted.

Research tells us there are a number of reasons people aren’t involved with politics, particularly youth. These include:

  • a lack of information about political parties and what they stand for

  • a lack of understanding of the Government’s importance and relevance.

On the Fence was created to lower these barriers, and support young New Zealanders to become voters. It is a gameful questionnaire that guides people towards finding their best match amongst the parties standing in the General Election. It provides information about these parties and their values, explains what the Government does and raises awareness of the election in general. Importantly, we want On the Fence to spark conversations about politics with friends and family.

Why should I care?

The Government has a real impact on your everyday life. It shapes your country’s present and future. Voting in the General Election is a powerful way for you to influence who is responsible for making decisions about the services and issues that matter most to you. It’s an opportunity to have your say!

Where is the data from?

All political parties that met our inclusion criteria were asked to respond to the same questions as users. These responses form the algorithm that underpins the questionnaire and is what On the Fence uses to compare and measure party compatibility with users of the tool.

Who is involved?

Our criteria for party inclusion in On the Fence 2020 is:

Parties must be registered with the Electoral Commission and currently in Parliament or polling at 0.5% at the beginning of August 2020, the time parties were invited to participate. A full list of parties seeking your vote is available at elections.nz.

How were the questions formed?

The questions have been designed by Massey University’s Design+Democracy Project alongside rangatahi from across Aotearoa, RNZ, Generation Zero and Platform Charitable Trust.

Want to know more?

You can find out more about On the Fence and the team on the Design+Democracy Project’s website, designdemocracy.ac.nz, or contact us directly at designanddemocracy@massey.ac.nz

Send us your feedback

What did you think of On the Fence? Let us know by emailing designanddemocracy@massey.ac.nz

Brought to you by:

On the Fence is an initiative of the Design+Democracy Project, a research unit established within Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, and is made in collaboration with the great folk at Effect.

We believe that the issue of low voter turnout is not only the responsibility of governments or councils — it is one that we all share as citizens. The Design+Democracy Project reckons design research can make a real contribution.

Our core team consists of Karl Kane, Tim Parkin, Tim Turnidge, and Morgan Dallas. The wonderful people at Effect made things real—kia ora rawa atu Jonathon, Nick, Claire and team! Thanks goes to an amazing number of rad people and organisations who helped make this initiative possible, especially: Cass Hesom-Williams, Thomas Le Bas, Sue Elliott, Sam Fraser, Wawaro Te Whaiti, and the original On the Fence student teams and alumni.

Special thanks to the Electoral Commission and the McGuinness Institute, Te Hononga Waka. Without their support On the Fence 2020 would not have happened.

Unless you volunteer personally identifiable information, the information you provide to On the Fence remains entirely anonymous.

While On the Fence provides analyses of aggregate data collected via the application, it will under no circumstances disclose to any identifiable third party individual-level user data nor will user data be shared with any candidates.

For more information please contact us at designanddemocracy@massey.ac.nz