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Jack Vowles, "Offsetting the PR Effect? Party Mobilization and Turnout Decline in New Zealand, 1996-99," Party Politics, 8 (September 2002," 587-605.

First Paragraph:
Turnout decline is a trend in many of the longest established democracies (Norris, 2002 forthcoming; Wattenberg, 2000). However, the causes of the trend remain unclear. This article tests the hypothesis that the ability of political parties to mobilize and secure the support of potential voters provides a partial answer to an otherwise difficult puzzle. Why did a trend of turnout decline continue in New Zealand, one of the oldest modern democracies, despite a recent change to proportional representation (PR)?

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Turnout in New Zealand Elections 1908-1999
Table 1. 1996 and 1999 -- Did Anyone From the Following Political Parties Contact You During the Campaign?
Table 2. Further Indicators of Election Mobilisation, 1996 and 1999
Table 3. Attitudes, Perceptions and Nonvoting
Table 4. Decomposition of Effects, Nonvoting at the 1999 and 1996 Elections

Last Paragraph:
Economic dissatisfaction, a sentiment that waxes and wanes, had some effects. Union membership, which is now slightly recovering under new industrial law, also had a minor effect. Most importantly, those variables that most influenced turnout decline represent aspects of party performance that could respond to organizational mobilization -- the recovery of party organizations and the revival of individual loyalties to political parties. While perhaps PR could help facilitate those processes in the longer term, it is clear from the experience of the 1999 election that in the short term its positive effects may be outweighed by other factors.