Students launch innovative tool to get sheepish youth off the political fence

Don't be a sheep this election – get informed and get voting.

If that all sounds like too much work, think again; a group of Massey University students from Wellington have launched a non-partisan tool to encourage young Kiwis to vote this week.

At interactive website, your values are matched with the values of different parties, as assessed by a panel of experts. Pick your priority issues, visualised as bales of hay and feed them to the fence-sitting sheep to calculate a best match with the most compatible political parties.

On the Fence was created as part of a third year Design & Business project, where five design students from various disciplines were charged with developing a simple web-based tool to aid voters’ in decision-making in the upcoming general election.

Moving beyond the classroom, the students believe it will make a difference to the way their peers engage with politics.

Project manager Kieran Stowers said: “A huge number of young people feel peer pressured when voting, either by going along with what their friends think or voting for a particular party just because that’s what their parents do. Or even worse, they don’t vote at all! It shouldn’t be seen as a chore, voting is a way of expressing yourself as an individual and we wanted to help people find their voice.”