The Electoral Commission says civics education in New Zealand's secondary schools is inadequate.
As it begins to prepare for the 2014 general election, the commission is talking to the Ministry of Education about providing increased, and better, lessons on citizenship, the law and the government.
Just 74% of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled for the last election and a much smaller proportion of those are thought to have voted.
In comparison, 93% of those in older age groups enrolled.
The Chief Electoral Officer, Robert Peden, says Canterbury's Student Volunteer Army shows that young people care, but they don't see the parliamentary process as relevant.
Improved education in civics would teach young people how to use the system to have their voices heard, he said.