Friday, November 25, 2011

The Night Before Election Day

It's the night before election day,
and on the bus,
a couple of English men,
asked who I was voting for.

Yeah - not going to be able to keep that up. Weirdest thing. One was going National because he reckons "they can do it". The other, the Maori party, because "they're honest". Me, the Green's because I don't think we can afford National again, Labour are going in a direction I really don't like and the Green's are the most likely, in my opinion, to have a positive effect on New Zealand.

This is one of those things that annoys me about elections. We don't tend to think in terms of the big picture. Loads of people think they have to vote for Labour or National because anything else is a wasted vote. But that's one of the reasons we got rid of "First Past The Post" as a voting system. It didn't allow, in any way, for smaller parties to influence things. Yes, I realise, this can be a bad thing. Winston Peters holding the government to ransom is rotten. What I don't get is why both parties didn't just decide to leave NZ First as independents. i.e. why do they need them in their coalition? In which case, that particular problem is the fault of the two main parties as it is the small party that instigated the problem.

So what is tomorrow going to bring? Earlier this year I went to NetHui - a brilliant conference that had a presentation by some people from the "World Internet Project". In particular, people from AUT.  They do research (surveys) into various things such as the amount of homes with Internet. However, I found myself horribly cynical  about their results. They'd gotten their results from a phone survey... I'd hazard a guess and say that those people are less likely to have access to the Internet, but the very method of data collection omits those people from their conclusions.

Why am I bringing this up now? TV3 made a big deal about their last poll before the elections. On the same day TVNZ 7 were doing some sort of travelling show talking to various voters in different electorates. The bit I saw was them talking to a couple of people in various Indian stores in Mt Roskill. None of them would state who they were going to vote for. So the question is, can the polls be trusted if, although an incredibly small sample size, the supporters of various parties are less vocal than the supporters of others?

I've also been horrified by some of the advertising. I always am, but normally it's around the slogans on billboards. One of the most horrible I've ever seen was during the Mt. Albert by-election - Russel Norman's, "For some muscle, vote Russel". Anyway, this time around, I keep seeing Nikki Kaye in town, a bunch of high school kids in tow, waving signs about. Yes, the National party is no longer just for old business men. Naive children who aren't old enough to vote yet are also supporters!

Talking about Mt. Albert... who here remembers the by-election? The candidates? Melissa Lee was making headlines for her foot in mouth disease. Russel Norman had a few billboards up but no one was paying any attention. Oh and Labour had a candidate - I don't think anyone actually knew his name but hey - he wasn't messing up as much as the other candidates.

So you'd think National would have up'ed their game right? Nope. Melissa Lee. They're not even trying. Labour have put in David Shearer (it doesn't really matter who they put in at this point). The Green's have put in David Clendon and ACT also have a candidate though if anyone ever thought that ACT would make a good representative for their electorate, you'd have to conclude that they don't really understand the candidate vote at all or otherwise, just don't understand what ACT are all about.

It's a no-brainer. And again, not for any merit of his own, but rather because the options are just so ... horrible or generally unremarkable, David Shearer will probably win the seat.

Way to go guys. A seat ripe for the plucking and it's just handed to Labour. Not that I'm complaining. I just think it'd be great if the party's actually took this seriously. The candidate vote should be about who would best represent our local interests. Obviously no one was terribly comfortable with Melissa Lee. They're still not going to be comfortable with her.

I suppose I should say something about my unease with even "The Green Party". They seem to have made a huge effort in recent years to be a lot more ... not quite respectable, but respect able. i.e. I'm able to respect them.

However, I find myself doing a palm plant when I hear terms like "Green Jobs". Lose the stupid jargon and make it sound ... practical. We care about the environment, and if you can demonstrate that the jobs are going to be beneficial to the environment, then all power to you but don't try to distract the from the fact that this is a step towards creating more jobs thus bringing down the unemployment rate and hopefully creating more opportunities.

While I'm a HUGE fan of Gareth Hughes and Metiria Turei is also on my radar, Russel Norman leaves me wanting to punch the party in the stomach. Partly due to his slogan for the Mt Albert by-election. He's never won an electoral seat in which case, he's never been able to win the confidence of people within a relatively small area - and yet, he's co-leader of our 3rd biggest party. To be fair, Turei and Hughes have also never won an electorate seat either. You've got to wonder what they're doing wrong.

Okay - so in terms of confidence that the NZ public have in them, not so great. I would blame a lot of their problems on the infighting and factions though. The Green Party seems to be full of factions. Who could forget Sue Bradford, now a member of the Mana Party? They seem a lot more cohesive now.

So I guess the question for me came down to the politicians I respect. Clare Curren from the Labour party, who had some input into Labour's plan to introduce 1:1 devices in schools (while completely disregarding the bits that would make it work such as giving the people a sense of ownership and responsibility in the programme) or Gareth Hughes, who seems to be the most likely to actually work to achieve something rather than fight for the sake of fighting.

At least this makes the decision a tiny bit easier than trying to figure out which party I could respect.

I still think we need a no-confidence type of party. In the last election it was the "Bill and Ben Party". The McGillicuddy Serious Party, which stood for various interesting policies such as free dung and the abolition of money, had great political influence when the Laird McGillicuddy (Graeme Cairns) was publicly tarred and feathered when he failed to win the 1999 election as he'd promised. Currently, this leaves the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party with those votes... uh-oh.

No comments:

Post a Comment