Last election New Zealand saw the lowest voter turn out in over a century. Since then, I’m not sure if anything has changed to stop that from happening again. Sure, we’ve had political scandal, law breaking and disappointment after disappointment from the government but it would seem rather than getting upset or up in arms, that people simply want to turn off.
It’s too hard, it’s too stressful. It’s far too easy to just ignore all and any coverage.
But that’s simply not good enough. Who our politicians are, is not an inconsequential thing.
They run the country.
They make the big decisions that foster growth, support struggling communities, that quietly tinker with the way we live our lives.
Still unconvinced? James Hurman has some good words on voting here,
‘ We have this special system in our country where somebody gets to be the leader, but they get guided by a whole bunch of other people to do the right thing…
When you vote in New Zealand, you are not voting for the leader. You are voting for the people that will constantly remind that leader about what’s important.’
Want more reasons? Child poverty advocate and documentary maker Bryan Bruce has been running a pretty to the point series over here.
But simply deciding to vote is the easiest bit. Who you pick is a bit trickier.
Personally, I am not a party aligned voter. I change sides, I’m even what you could call… an undecided voter.
Yes, I do have pretty concrete leanings but I firmly believe that parties change, and as such the merits of why you should or should not vote for them too.
I believe that the merits of a party is fundamentally influenced by the people within it. What are their values? What do they want to get out of being in politics?
Which means a question you might ask yourself is, when voting who do you vote for? Yourself? Or for the society you want to live in?
If you vote to benefit yourself, do those politicians you vote for actually work for you? Or do they also work simply for themselves?
Should you be a party voter, do you follow those party members blindly? Defend them through thick and thin? Or do you demand that they do you proud? That they do the best job they possibly can?
How do they deal with mistakes? Do they respond with humility and take responsibility? OR do they shrug it off like it’s no big deal?
Yet how do we tell before it’s too late? It’s easy to shrug off electoral candidates, to have no clue who they are, to go with the incumbent or simply your party’s candidate.
But what about the great people who pass us by unnoticed? I decided that this election I wanted to know more.
That’s what this series is all about.
I asked every electorate candidate in Auckland and Wellington five questions. Over the next month, Monday through Friday (two each on Tuesdays and Thursdays) I’ll be posting the responses by electorate, unedited.
Not sure where your leanings lie at all? Check out On The Fence. It’s fun and helpful.
(If you live outside of Auckland/Wellington and would like your candidates profiled, let me know and I’ll hit them up.)