2 May 2022

Young people urged to get vocal in your local online

Our online tool, Get Vocal in Your Local, made it easy for young peoples’ voices to be heard in the Review into the Future for Local Government.

Young people urged to get vocal in your local online

Our rangatahi are our future, but are their voices being heard?

In our conversations with young people, they’ve told us that they often don’t understand what local government is, what it does, or how they can get involved.

They don’t feel like they have a voice in the big issues that affect them.

With Get Vocal in Your Local, you don’t have to know anything about local government to have your say. All you need to do to get started is to pick a place in Aotearoa that is important to you. The tool then guides you through a series of questions that explore some of the big issues the Review is considering: things like who gets to have a say in decision-making, which voices matter, and what the voting age should be.

Why target young people?

The Minister of Local Government has asked the Review to identify ways of building a resilient and sustainable system of local governance that can adapt to the future needs of local communities. We cannot do this without hearing from young people. They are the future of our communities.


‘“We know that we can’t look at the future for local government in Aotearoa without giving young people a chance to be heard. That’s why we’ve made it easy for rangatahi across the country to get involved,” ’ — Jim Palmer, Chair of the Review

Although young people are sometimes very politically active, they are among the least represented groups in the current system of local governance. For example, the average age of elected council members is between 56 and 60.

Get Vocal in Your Local was designed for use by rangatahi, however, it’s a tool that makes it easy for the wider public to share their views too. There is no age limit on using this tool.

We have a range of methods of engaging with different groups, including workshops with diverse communities, a series of iwi kōrero, an online survey and a virtual roadshow with councils across the motu.

What does Get Vocal in Your Local do?

Get Vocal in Your Local provided a way for young people to ensure that their voices are heard.

It asked questions and gathered insights about young peoples’ hopes for the future of their communities, their ideas about how decisions should be made, and how they can participate more easily in local democracy.

Get Vocal in Your Local removed some of the barriers that have been stopping young people from engaging with local government. It presented easy to understand information about some of the key features of the current system of governance. It was accessible via mobile phones and other devices and shareable via social media.

When someone completed Get Vocal in Your Local, the tool generated a personalised submission to the Review. Users could also see how their responses compare to others. All of the responses help inform our draft report and recommendations, which is planned for release in October 2022.

Who made Get Vocal in Your Local?

Get Vocal in Your Local was developed with young people, for young people. We used feedback from workshops with rangatahi to shape content and design. We wish to thank the young people who helped shape this tool: tauira from Tawa College kapa haka rōpū, Year 10s at Wellington High School, students from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and rangatahi from the Auckland Co-design Lab.

Get Vocal in Your Local was created in partnership with Toi Āria: Design for Public Good, a research centre at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, together with the development team at Effect.

Where can I find the tool and other resources for young people?

With the engagement phase of the Review now complete, the tool has now been closed.

However, we have created a lesson plan for youth to learn about local government and be part of the Review. This lesson plan was created with MyMahi, an online portal that helps New Zealand schools teach a range of subjects.

Our lesson plan encourages students to take a deeper look at local government in Aotearoa. It prompts discussions about what councils do, and how they are vitally important to our everyday lives.

It also encourages students to have their say on the future for local government by making a submission on our draft report.

If you would like a copy of this resource, you’ll find it here.

To find out more about MyMahi, take a look at their website