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Long-term immigrants' voter turnout rate passes New Zealand-born residents


14:25, May 06, 2013

WELLINGTON, May 6 (Xinhua) -- The vase majority of immigrants in New Zealand feel they belong to the country and they have a higher voting rate than New Zealand-born residents, the government statistics agency announced Monday.

According to Statistics New Zealand's General Social Survey, 86 percent of long-term migrants, or 407,000 people, who had been in the country for more than 12 years said they belonged either " strongly" or "very strongly" to New Zealand.

Of the recent migrants, who had been in the country 12 years or less, 64 percent, or 288,000 people, said the same thing.

That compared with 95 percent of New Zealand-born people with New Zealand-born parents (1.66 million people), and 93 percent of New Zealand-born people with at least one overseas-born parent ( 611,000 people), who said they belonged strongly or very strongly to the country.

"How strongly a person feels connected to the country can affect their participation in society, such as whether they vote," survey manager Philip Walker said in a statement.

"The survey data shows that the proportion of long-term migrants who voted during the 2008 general election was higher than that of any other group, including New Zealand-born people," he said.

While 86 percent of long-term migrants voted in the 2008 general election, just 78 percent of New Zealand-born people with New Zealand-born parents voted, while 77 percent of New Zealand- born people with at least one overseas-born parent people voted.

Of the recent migrants, just 48 percent voted, but some of them would have been ineligible, said the statement.

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