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August 10, 2014 | by  | in News |
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It’s Question Time but Not as They Know It

Ask Away, a website where people can directly question parties before the September election, has launched.

Users can ask questions, vote for the questions they want answered and then compare short answers from the parties.

Ask Away is a part of Massey University’s Design & Democracy Lab, and is being led by Meg Howie as her Master of Design project, in collaboration with Jon Lemmon, Code for NZ and other open-source developers.

Howie said she had developed the project to increase youth-voter turnout.

“I want more young people to vote, so I want to make it interesting. I think the way to do that is to let people engage on their own terms, and then give the politicians the opportunity to show that they care what we have to say.”

“The site is designed as a form of social media, so it’s quick response, short form, and users get to curate the content by voting. It then has the benefit of having all the parties answering the same questions in one place.”

At the time that Salient went to print, the Ask Away Facebook page had over 700 likes, and Howie says the project has had an “extremely positive” response so far.

“All of the main parties have agreed to participate, so people can get a broad range of perspectives from the site.”

“I hope that Ask Away will create a platform for young people to talk about the things that affect them. That will connect politicians more closely with youth issues and hopefully simultaneously break down the perceptions that political issues don’t affect us, and that youth aren’t interested.”

Students can ask questions at http://www.askaway.co.nz/.

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