My friend Chris volunteered to write a blog for me. It has triggered me to think about what I am planning to do in regards to this election and I urge you to have a read of this before you vote!
Also if anyone else is feeling like blogging, drop me a line!
I have always been of the opinion that there are two topics that are off limits at social occasions – religion and politics – but recently I feel the both are becoming more accepted as legitimate topics to discuss at a BBQ or even a wedding. I’m not sure that I am comfortable discussing these topics with acquaintances or people I am meeting for the first time, particularly when their approach is the hard sell as to why all other political parties (or religions for that matter) are wrong. At the earliest pause in the conversation I’ll slip away “to grab another drink” and may just happen to bump into someone else.
So why then do you think it is a good idea to blog about this, you may be thinking. Well yesterday my wife forwarded me an excerpt from an agribusiness consultant’s newsletter which berated the Labour and Green parties by announcing their “terrible” policies. After being taken aghast by the bigoted comments contained in the email, I had strong feeling that the comments lacked any links to the policies of those two political parties. I did have to concede though, that I wasn’t familiar enough with the policies of the parties to be able to send a snotty self-righteous email to this consultant pointing out the short-comings in his research.
At that point, the light bulb came on and I had to stop and ask myself ‘why do I vote the way I do, if I don’t know the policies of the party/ies I support?’ Where do our ideas about democracy come from? Presumably when you are an impressionable teenager who has just turned 18, you vote the same way your parents do (if you get on well with them, or you vote for a party at the far end of the political spectrum to spite them, if relationships are strained). As we become more independent and more aware of the way the world turns isn’t it time we re-examine some of our fore drawn conclusions?
With that in mind I set about reading the key policies of the political parties I support (and some of the ones I don’t) establishing in greater detail the lay of the political landscape. Now, I admit it is not a quick process – nor would I expect something as complex as determining the economic and social policies of a country to be – but it was a useful one.
As I sit here writing this blog there are only 33 days until the election. I urge you to take a look at the policies of the party you are considering voting for, and perhaps some of the others. Make sure you believe in the policies that your party is proposing; this isn’t high school – it’s not a popularity contest. If all New Zealanders were informed voters and actively engaged in the political process New Zealand would certainly be a key player on the global stage.
So by channelling my anger at the consultant who shall not be named, into a more constructive outlet I now know what I am voting for. The added bonus is that if someone bails me up about politics as I am grabbing another beer out of the chilly bin I have some strong arguments and rebuttals at the ready – approach with care!