Kay Murray is co-leader of the Alliance Party, and ranked number one on its party list. For the last 18 years Kay has worked as programmes manager for the Connections Centre, a Dunedin centre that provides activity-based programmes for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
What do you think it means to be a New Zealander in the 21st century?
To be a New Zealander in the 21st century is to be someone who calls Aotearoa New Zealand home: someone who cares about the people who live in New Zealand and the land and seas that comprise our group of islands. We have a diverse landscape and are a diverse people.
What do you think are the major issues facing youth today and in the next 20 years?
Debt caused by the costs of obtaining an education and accommodation is impacting severely on youth today and this will only increase over the next 20 years unless steps are taken to address both the cost of housing and student loans. The debt problem is exacerbated by employment-related issues, especially the lack of employment opportunities for young people and the low-wage economy we have, which means that for many young people earning a livable wage is not possible.
Why do you think youth should vote?
There are parties that do not subscribe to the current user-pays mentality and trickle-down economic theory. They recognise that everybody should have access to free education, adequate housing and a job with a livable wage. However, they need support from voters to be in a position to implement the changes that will make New Zealand a place that embraces all its people, including young people. If young people want to influence the direction the country will go in for the next three years and beyond they need to vote for the party that has the policies they believe are best.
Why do you think it is important for youth to engage with the referendum?
The issue of what form of government we have is too important to leave to the middle-aged and older voters. Everyone needs to have their say because the referendum must reflect the view of all New Zealanders. I personally favour MMP because of the opportunity it provides for everyone to cast a vote that counts, and the diversity it brings to Parliament, which in turn reflects the diversity of our population.