Saturday, September 13, 2014

The market for votes

As I often do on a Saturday, I went to Newtown market today. Four parties were after my vote: the Greens, Internet Mana, NZ First and Labour. It was good to see Annette King, the Labour MP for Rongotai, trying to drum up support. She's not my MP - I live just over the border in Grant Robertson's electorate, and he'll get my vote. It's easy to neglect your electorate vote if you don't live in one of the areas where it can affect the make-up of parliament, but I've come round to the idea that local representation is actually pretty important.

As well as the usual fruit and vege, I grabbed the parties' various leaflets, and the one that stood out for me came from Internet Mana, who I haven't even considered voting for. You know what, they have some damn good policies. Whether I could trust them to implement the policies is another matter, but I have a hard time disagreeing with anything in the pamphlet. It was also very well put together, which it should be when you think of all the money spent on the campaign. And that's my biggest problem with the party - that it's been bankrolled by a German mega-millionaire.

That's also just one of the problems I have with the Conservatives. Whether they get over 5% and snag six or seven seats, or dip under and get zero, is too close to call. This might be the deciding factor in the election. I couldn't see the Conservatives at the market, and a certain other party who have the support of nearly half the nation (if the polls are to be believed) weren't there either. Funny that.

In some ways National have a harder time campaigning than the Greens, say, because their support isn't concentrated nicely in urban areas. Still, they have very strong support among Pakeha blokes in Auckland, people who epitomise normal. In places like Milford (on the Shore) where I used to live, they do really well.

Going back to Internet Mana, much has been made in the media of the rift in the party on the issue of cannabis. The way I see it, it's great that there's a party that's serious about changing the status quo. It's only a matter of time before cannabis is legalised or at least decriminalised in New Zealand. When it happens is hard to predict, but in NZ things can (sometimes) change quickly. It's amazing how much bollocks is spouted about a drug that causes far less social harm than alcohol. "Teenagers who smoke cannabis are x% more likely to drop out of school." That's the latest one. Well yeah. But that doesn't mean they're dropping out of school because they smoke weed. I'm sure people with tattoos are more likely to drop out too. And hoodies. But no-one would seriously advocate banning tattoos or hoodies, would they? Actually I'd be OK with banning hoodies, especially given that Kevin is in one almost permanently, but that's my own silly prejudice talking.

Talking of elections and fruit and vege markets, there's a good blog out there called Fruits and Votes.

I bought four books online today. With Amazon the shipping would have cost more than the books, so I went with Fishpond instead.

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