The power of the orange marker pen

When I was profiled in a Dom Post a few weeks ago, I was the only blogger whose political preference was not noted. The reporter didn’t ask me (probably because unlike the others, I’m not a political blogger), but if he had, I’m not sure what I would have said.

It got me thinking – what are my political preferences? What guides me when I’m in the polling booth, orange marker pen hovering above the ballot paper? It was time to revisit elections past.

1993 – Waikato
McGillicuddy Serious Party

18 and with the power to vote, this was my first election. It was also the last election under first-past-the-post – and my voting choice was a direct result of this. I lived in the corner of Hamilton that was part of the Waikato electorate. Most of Waikato was rich, rural heartland, so it was a safe National seat. There wasn’t much point in voting for any other candidates. And that’s where the McGillicuddy Serious Party came in.

The McGSP were a comedy party, but – as their name suggests – they were very serious about it. Based in Hamilton, they brought a bit of colour to the grey old town, but in standing a candidate in a safe seat, they helped expose the flaws that marred FPP voting.

And besides – the McGillicuddy’s 1993 manifesto had a recommended reading list that included the Lester Bangs essay collection “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung”, which I got out of the library and it totally changed my life. Yeah.

1996 – Hamilton East
Electorate: McGillicuddy Serious Party
List: McGillicuddy Serious Party

The electoral boundaries changed and I was now in the more even-handed Hamilton East, but was I still willing to give the McGillicuddys a second shot. McGillicuddy always did well under FPP, but how would they do under the first MMP election? Could they win a seat in Parliament?

Well, no. They still got votes in safe electorates, but only managed 5590 party votes – compare that with 34,398 for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. The McGillicuddys stood for one more general election before calling it a day. However, former McGillicuddy list candidate Metiria Turei is now taking things a bit more seriously as the co-leader of the Green Party.

1999 – Auckland Central
Electorate: National
List: ACT

The fact that I’ve voted ACT shocks some of my more right-on friends. Yes, it’s true. And it wasn’t a strategic Epsom move or anything. I voted ACT because I wanted them to get in government.

My flatmate at the time was an ACT supporter. He and a good friend of his had been supporters since they were teens going along to meetings of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers. They weren’t just some kids who’d read “Atlas Shrugged” and decided to support ACT. It was a party that reflected their values and they could talk about it very intelligently. They’ve stuck with it, to the point that one of them was rumoured as a potential ACT list candidate this election.

And then at the same time National were kind of bombing and Labour were kicking arse. So I got a bit hipster about it and wanted to vote for someone who wasn’t the local champion. I felt really conflicted about it, and at one point completely lied and told a friend that I’d voted for the Labour candidate and Green.

2002 – Epsom
Electorate: Green
List: Green

I cannot remember why I did a double Green vote this election. I voted a couple of days before the election because I was out of town on election day. Making a vote in a corner of a suburban library is never as much fun as a proper vote on the day itself.

The day I voted was also the day of my lovely great-aunt’s funeral, and she was a bit of greenie, so perhaps it was in tribute to her. Or maybe it was a kind of backlash against my voting at the previous election. Or maybe Labour had done something that seemed a bit dirty, necessitating a more leftward nudge.

It’s funny how all this stuff seems like such a big deal at the time, and votes are cast with such conviction. But looking back, it’s a fading memory.

ivevoted2005 – Epsom
Electorate: National
List: Labour

This was a crazy election. I wanted a good local MP. Rodney Hide, the ACT leader and likely winner, didn’t seem like the sort of person who’d be able to dedicate much time to his electorate.

There was a sneaky campaign going on to encourage National voters to vote for ACT. I’d received a strange phonecall from a woman doing a phone survey with questions loaded to support ACT. I even emailed the National candidate Richard Worth to see if he really wanted my vote. He said he did, so I gave it to him, with the party vote for Labour because I couldn’t think of anyone else to vote for.

It was also the election of the Exclusive Brethren-funded pamphlets. I found six of them stuffed in my mail slot, tempting me with a “Caribbean cruise” with the tax cut I’d receive if I voted for some unnamed party.

As it happened, Rodney Hide was elected, and then spent the following year dividing his time between being the ACT leader and his showbiz/weight loss journey on “Dancing with the Stars”. Yeah, a really choice local MP.

Richard Worth, meanwhile, got in on the National list but resigned in 2009, amid allegations of being a dickbag towards a woman he was trying to impress. Yeah, an even more choice MP.

2008 – Wellington Central
Electorate: Labour
List: Maori

I met Grant Robertson at a tweetup. He was a nice guy, we had a little chat and I figured he’d be a good local MP to have. A couple of years later, I saw him walking down Lambton Quay and he said, “Hi, Robyn”, which was also nice. And that’s what got him my vote.

I’m not entirely sure why I gave the Maori party my vote. Possibly because lots of people I knew were voting Green and I wanted to be different. And the Maori Party got into government, kind of.

Looking back at all my years of voting, I feel like a really lousy elector. On the eve of this year’s general election, I feel like I should be better prepared, to have done research and attended meet-the-candidate meetings and have asked questions. I feel like I should have really solid reasons for my decisions, rather than just making a snap choice in the polling booth. Or maybe I should do what some political reporters do and stay neutral by never voting.

But you know what? At least I’ve never voted Libertarianz.

robyn-vote-20112011 – Wellington Central
Electorate: Labour
List: Green

Again I gave my electorate vote to Labour because Grant Robertson is a good local MP. I didn’t know who to give my list vote to, but I felt that Labour weren’t worthy of my vote and needed a kick up the pants. Yeah, that’ll show them. So that resulted in my list vote going to Green.

I voted in the Michael Fowler Centre, which has to be the grandest voting location. Prior to this, I have voted in various community halls. I suppose in a way the Michael Fowler Centre is a community hall, but there aren’t many community halls that fancy.

ballot-box2011 – Taranaki-King Country
Electorate: Green
List: Green

Since when was coastal Waikato in the Taranaki-King Country? Weirdest electorate name ever. I made an advance vote and gave my electorate vote to Green because it seemed like the Raglandic thing to do. And I was right – preliminary results show the Green candidate getting 355 versus the National candidate on 318. At the last election, National was first. Oh Raglan, so Green.

I also gave my party vote to Green, but this was not due to a deep affinity with Green policies. I think of the Green Party as a renovated bathroom in a Grey Lynn villa with a bottle of Eco Store hand wash by the sink.

But I wasn’t going to vote for National (they don’t need my help) or Labour (they need help). And none of the other parties were really interesting enough. So, ok, a double tick for Green.

Live blogging the election

It’s a Saturday. I’m in Raglan. I have nothing better to do so I’m live-blogging the general election.

7.05 So I’ve decided to live blog the election results. I’m at my parents’ watching the election coverage on TV1, natch.

7.09 I voted earlier today at the Michael Fowler Centre (chosen for its splendid architecture). I got all emotional when I realised I was voting in Wellington Central. Also, it was in the same room that the American election shindig was held. I call this the Room of Democracy.

7.12 In other news, my friends Dylz and Mel have just had a baby. He will be named Helen.

7.13 Ha ha – United Future’s TV abbreviation is UNF.

7.15 On the telly – lots of gentlemen with graphs. Oh, you know what? If you have Freeview, you should watch the Back Benches Election Special. It’s going to be rad.

7.17 TVNZ are having a barbecue out on the deck. Last election there was no BBQ; instead that bloody guy threatened to fly his plane into the Sky Tower.

7.18 I’m being lured with delicious steak IRL.

7.41 Steak consumed. Back to the telly. You can nae make conclusions with only 4% counted.

7.46 I asked Mum if she considered voting for NZ First as Winston’s Gold Card has given her all sorts of fabulous discounts. She laughed, as if the idea of voting for them was completely unthinkable.

7.48 So who did Mum vote for? “I thought ‘fuck it’ and voted National.” Please note: my mum never says the F word.

7.51 Dad voted Green as they were his best choice for a coalition partner with both National and Labour.

7.52 Also, whanau are in a badly drawn electorate – they live in the Waikato but are in the Taranaki-King Country electorate. Mental!

8.05 Watching some politcal comedy on TV1. It’s not awse.

8.08 Yeah, the first hour or so is kind of dull. News break – Obama: he’s awesome!

8.12 Time for Back Benches. Watching Tanerau introducing Wallace to the Whiteboard-o-tron 2000. Srsly bringing the lolz.

8.16 This is nice – entertaining political and election coverage. Go, Back Benches!

8.19 Oh, Heather Roy has dyed her hair yellow to match party colours!

8.21 Dessert – cherry clafouti.

8.24 Hilariously, Heather’s Roy’s hairdresser is being interviewed. But not about Roy’s yellow hair – she’s a first-time voter.

8.33 This blogging seems so inadequate without a hologram of Will.i.am.

8.41 “I still think he’s a sell-out and he betrayed the worker’s struggle” – some Marxist guy brings the lolz.

8.44 Dear Kiwi Party girl has no apparent media training and just keeps digging her hole with great hilariousness.

8.47 “There’s hardly been a story on Wellington Central,” moans Sue Kedgley. Well, true. Is it an indicator seat or is it just a bit too random for that?

8.49 Stephen Franks likes reading Whale Oil blog. Oh dear.

8.51 Back Benches doesn’t have a scroll of results, so it’s kind of like taking a little break from the madness. Well, there’s also the web for results.

8.56 I support MMP because the first two elections I voted in (’93 and ’96), I was in the Waikato electorate, a “safe” National seat. I ticked the box for the McGillicuddy Serious candidate as a protest of sorts (and because McGS did good political art stunts). It actually paid off in one way – McGS got enough votes to earn airtime for political ads, but MMP was the death of them when party votes actually counted. So when 1999 came, I gleefully voted for the MP and party I wanted. Neither of them got into government, though.

9.02 Is “overhang” the political equivalent of a muffin top?

9.04 Brittany, the first-time hairdresser voter, is pouting and posing as she talks about her voting experience. Put that on your Bebo.

9.06 Maori Party’s TV abbreviation is MRI, which reminds me of House MD.

9.09 Jenny Shipley is sporting a Suzanne Prentice hairdo. Mum says she looks like Herman Munster. This is what election night is all about.

9.12 Vox pops on TV1 – two guys say they’re not voting Labour because it’s “time for some change”, just like they did in America. What? There is no Ministry of Change or select committees on change. Only numbnuts vote on change for change’s sake.

9.18 Mum observes “you don’t see that swing-o-meter thing any more.” Dad: “That’s because it doesn’t work any more.”

9.21 Jeremy Wells is in Gore, getting all the locals to say ‘Working For Families’ with their Southland R. Comedy gold!

9.30 “The big boobs do have an impact” – J Shipley.

9.31 Oh, whoops, I mean “The big booths do have an impact” – J Shipley.

9.35 Auckland Central, Wellington Central and Christchurch Central are neck-and-neck Labour and National. Damn urbanites.

9.41 Tariana Turia sounds completely miserable, and yet the Maori Party aren’t doing too badly.

9.46 “A lot of National’s policies are very socialist” – my dad. Shh! Don’t tell Sarah Palin!

9.49 TVNZ 7’s Greg Boyed notes that Helen hasn’t come out of her house. What is he expecting? “Hello, Greg. Would you like to come in for some scones? Peter’s just baked a fresh batch.”

9.51 Again, I am so glad I’m not in the Epsom electorate any more. Though it is nice to see that the good people of Epsom understand how MMP works.

10.05 Simon Dallow: “As a proud bogan myself…” Oh, Simon.

10.06 It’s that fun game when you mentally tally up the bar charts and come up with potential coalitions.

10.10 “Nationoow usn’t going to count ut’s chuckuns” – Boow Unglush.

10.13 UNF leader Peter Dunne is back. Oh, thank you so much, Churton Park.

10.14 Winston is about to make a speech. Will it be as good as McCain’s?

10.16 Oh, things are going to be tough and unfortunately they’re not going to have Winston with them to get through their tough times, etc.

10.17 New Zealand was “once the greatest country on earth”. Not sure what we currently are. Does not having Winston as an MP now mean NZ is no longer great?

10.20 Ooh, the evil meeja scum killed Winston’s dream! Boo!

10.29 Judith Tizard has lost Auckland Central. Interesting – boundaries have changed but I hear Tizard hasn’t been working well. Geeks remember the copyright law thingy!

10.30 In Tauranga, the evil meeja scum are trying to interview Winston, but Winston ain’t having none of that, etc.

10.32 Michelle Boag’s jacket is the same colour as the set’s background, making her head look like it’s floating in space.

10.35 Observation: Even though National has a lot of the same of guys from the ’90s, they do have a lot of younger, new people. But Labour’s stuck with a lot of the same old faces.

10.37 Grant Robertson wins Wellington Central! Hoorah! I met him a few months ago and was impressed. I’m really happy to have him as a local MP, and I think he’s a great asset for the Labour Party.

10.41 Potential bonus with a right-wing government: material for leftie satirists, a la The Daily Show?

10.47 Interesting – TV1 panel speculates that anti-kid-hitting bill turned some voters off Labour. Yet National have no plans to overturn it.

10.51 John Key’s “opulent house” looks like a tszujed up leaky home. Whereas Helen has a humble villa.

10.55 When did “indicator seats” become “bellweather seats”? What is “bellweather”?

10.56 Ah, it’s spelt bellwether. Wikipedia sez: “The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading its flock of sheep. The movements of the flock could be perceived by hearing the bell before the flock was in sight.” Eeeee!

10.57 It looks like Helen’s made The Phone Call. She’s going to make her speech soon.

10.59 Dad is going to bed now. “What they do tonight isn’t important. It’s what they do next week and next year, and that’s not going to have anything to do with what they say their policies are.”

11.01 National’s HQ is at Sky City – go the pokies!

11.05 “The controversial Sir Roger Douglas”. Old Great-Uncle Roger gets wheeled out of the basement. Maybe.

11.06 Peter Dunne’s hair: it’s so solid.

11.13 Yawn. It’s all waiting now. I wonder if John Key wants an Obamaesque speech.

11.15 Helen’s on her way to her people. Oh, Helen!

11.23 During TV1 ad breaks, TVNZ 7 runs mini docos about NZ election history. The coverage of the first MMP election showed a youthful Winston and vox pops with people wearing giant ’90s-style glasses. Man, that was so long ago!

11.21 Helen’s election hall is painted blue. Oh dear!

11.23 Helen had better make a good speech.

11.25 Helen briefly thanks John and accepts “responsibility for the result”. Oh, so perhaps it’s time for her to step down?

11.30 Helen’s standing down!

11.31 It seems inevitable. She’s had a good long time as leader and it makes sense that someone else step in now. But who?

11.33 I keep thinking John Key’s wife is called Brotown.

11.40 Labour new leader – will it be a pakeha male?

11.42 Mt Albert will have a more dedicated MP.

11.45 Wide shot of National Party party – dudes in suits with booze.

11.47 Some reporter is attempting to interview Key. She asks him how he feels. “It feels great, but…” But what? BUT WHAT, MR KEY?

11.48 Bro, nah.

11.49 What is that horrible song playing at the NP party?

11.50 Change has won! Yeah, all your 10c and 20c coins are in charge now!

11.52 “You’ve come to shear our beliefs.” Go Key’s Kiwi vowels!

11.53 Personal anecdote time. It’s all about personal responsibility.

11.54 How come when he’s smiling – and presumedly when he’s genuinely happy – his smile looks fake?

11.55 Wait, did he just mention “Kiwi ingenuity” with utter glee? Is it the 1980s?

11.55 We must use our size to our advantage, “to be nimble, sure-footed and flexible.” And tiny-handed? That too?

11.56 Light shining on Key’s forehead produces two shiny spots that are curved like horns. OMG

11.57 John thanks Helen. Some audience members applaud, others jeer. Like the Republican supporters booed Obama?

11.58 John confirms it’ll be a Nat-Act-Unf love triangle.

11.59 And a “willingness to engage in dialogue” with the Maori Party. Wait, “willingness to engage in dialogue”? Dude, you’re not an investment banker any more.

12.00 Boow Unglish is “in Gore and I know they know how to have a good time there.” Did a professional speechwriter write that? If so, they should be fired. If not, one should be hired.

12.01 Pronounces Otaki as “Oh tacky”. Oh, tacky!

12.04 Really underwhelming speech. It didn’t offer much inspiration, other than “Stuff is quite good now but it’s going to get more awesome!!!!”

12.05 I love the My Chemical Romance look Key’s daughter is rocking. It’s very un-traditional-National!

12.07 The main thing that seems to have been decided – someone different is Prime Minister. Who cares wot his policies are?

12.10 I should go to bed now. Congratulations to my new MP, Grant Robertson! Night-night!

O for awesome

Exhibit A: Funkmaster George Clinton’s 1993 single Paint the White House black:

It seems incredible to think that when that song came out – only 15 years ago – the idea of a black president seemed like wishful thinking. Back then, the other Clinton, Bill, was the newly elected pres and he was a friend to the negro so that was as good as it was going to get.

But now, today… Wow. It feels like some sort of momentous historic event. Maybe this is what the ’60s were like to live through.

At last – one very good reason to not feel so gloomy about the future.

Character building

I finally got around to filling in my ballot for the Auckland City Council elections.

With so many different things to vote for and so many different people to vote for, I went through the candidate profile booklet and started eliminating candidates based on their little blurbs.

I will not vote for candidates who said the following:

  • “I call for the withdrawal of US and ‘coalition’ troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.” OK, but what about plastic-bag recycling?
  • The anti-abortionist who says that, if elected, he will “use the office of mayor solely in this battle.” Sorry, the mayor can’t help you. He’s busy stopping a 15-year-old rape victim from aborting her unwanted foetus, etc.
  • The candidate who who “understands company reports as NZX investor.” This sounds like she sat down with a Work and Income CV consultant and learned to maximise her potential.
  • Regarding Queen Street being “a mess” – “I will encourage those concerned to wake up.” Yes, you Queen Street retailers had better wake up or there’ll be trouble.
  • The candidate who has no conflicts of interest with the “(insert name) District Health Board”. Yeah, me neither.

It looks like the mayoralty is going to be between the incumbent mayor and the previous mayor. Neither of them really excite me.

Sometimes I like to go into the Auckland Public Library’s Auckland resource room and read old city council propaganda publications. This is what I have learned – there are always going to be mayors who have really amazing plans for the city that never get to happen.

Mayor Robbie’s idea of a rapid rail system is often hailed as an example of this. I found the 1974 district plan that had this detailed in it. It was bit weird. There would have been an underground concourse running from Hobson Street (where Sky City is now) down to Queen Street, and up to Kitchener Street. Why? What’s wrong with walking down the street? And there would have been all sorts of peculiar tunnels and escalators needed to get under and around the hilly inner-city landscape.

But for every visionary idea that never makes it, there are also really horrible ideas that never get approved, like the plan to put a mall and office block on the site of the Civic theatre.

Every mayoral or council candidate that isn’t currently on the council seems to be running on the promise of change. Something is broken in this city, they say, and they’re going to fix it. But why does Auckland’s brokenness have to be fixed? Why can’t we accept the flaws of this city as being what makes it special? Does Auckland actually need “world class” paving stones on its footpaths?

Now I’ll just have to remember to post my ballot off.

The rain in Epsom falls mainly on the polling booth

NB: Until 7pm it is “a criminal offence to distribute or broadcast any statement that is likely to influence a voter as to the candidate or party the voter should or shouldn’t vote for, or which influences people to abstain from voting,” so I’ve taken out certain names in order to comply with this law.

This morning I heard my neighbour talking on the phone. He was convinced he was in the Epsom electorate (and as far as I know, the electorate boundary doesn’t go between my flat and his), but when he went to vote, they informed him he was actually in the “Town” electorate, by which I guess he means Auckland Central.

He had been really looking forward to voting for the [redacted] party’s last chance, [redacted], but realising he was in Town, he had to instead vote for [redacted], the [redacted] candidate, and also gave [redacted] his party vote. Because he didn’t give [redacted] his party vote, it makes me think he maybe just wanted [redacted] as his local MP.

Gleefully clutching my EasyVote card, with Epsom in bold type, I braved the torrential Mt Eden traffic and made my way over to the church hall across the road.

A cheerful fellow took my EasyVote card, crossed my name off the electoral roll and issued me with a voting paper. To the left of him was a confused looking fellow wearing a red shirt who was a scrutineer for [redacted], while on the right was a really dour-faced woman who was a scrutineer for [redacted].

I took my voting paper behind the cardboard booth and first made my electorate vote. I voted for [redacted], the [redacted] candidate. It felt a little strange to do so, but truth be told, it’s not the first time I’ve voted for [redacted].

Then I had trouble deciding what party to vote for. I was all hyped up and couldn’t even remember which ones I had narrowed it down to. I stared at the voting paper. Slowly my memory came back. It was down to two parties, [redacted] and [redacted]. I couldn’t decide. I doodled on the booth. I got sick of standing and thinking. I realised there was no one I was completely hot for, so I picked [redacted] because it seemed like the best choice.

On the way out an old lady standing by the door said, “Here you go,” and her arm shot out as if she was about to grab my boob. She had a sticker on one finger that said, “Yes[sic] I’ve voted”. I didn’t want her feeling me up in the name of stickering, so I quickly picked the sticker off her finger and stuck it to my top.

ivevoted

If you live in Auckland, I heartily recommend tuning to Elect!, Triangle TV‘s election night coverage from 9.30pm tonight. It’s hosted by Ryan with some behind-the-scenes stuff from Dylan and James, all of whom were part of the team behind “The Sceptre of Macguffin” and “Fruits of Passion” so you know it’s going to be good.

Exclusive

I went to Raglan for a week and a bit and spent much of that time watching the Hurricane Katrina coverage on CNN. I returned to Auckland today and was delighted to find six (6) of the Exclusive Brethren election pamphlets waiting in my mail slot. They are:

“BEWARE – THE GREEN DELUSION”
Vague attacks on the Green Party, including the chilling revelation that the Greens allegedly want to “teach criminals “art”. The only solution to this so-called delusion is to change the government.

“WHO HAS THE FORESIGHT AND THE CREDENTIALS TO BEING PROSPERITY TO NEW ZEALAND?”
Resplendent in yellow and blue, it says that “lower taxes will return money to hard-working Kiwi battlers where it belongs,” and chillingly warns, “Every year thousands of New Zealanders leave for a better life in Australia!”

“HEALTHCARE – WHO CARES?” (A5)
Printed in sombre tones of blue, it disses Labour’s chilling health statistics then says that “a government that really care for you … will eliminate unacceptable waiting lists.”

“CLAIM YOUR SEAT TO WATCH THE ALL BLACK ACTION!”
Again gaily printed in yellow and blue, this one informs that a chilling 30% of tax is “needlessly swelling the Government coffers.” It thoughtfully provides a list of things you could spent your tax cut on, including “Caribbean cruise”, “dine out twice a week”, “shout yourself some new clothes,” and if your greedstravaganza comes to an end, “maybe done to a charity of your choice.”

“ARE YOU REALLY SAFE?”
On the red side, it chillingly contrasts pairs of unrelated statistics, for example, $4 million for victim support versus $84 for legal aid. The flipside promises that the blue government will “restore a sense of security to the people,” among other things.

“HEALTHCARE – WHO CARES?” (A4)
Taking specific aim at hospital waiting times, it chillingly reveals at one person has had to wait for over eight years for something. In an inspirational message of hope, it advises, “If you are waiting for heart surgery, a cataract operation, knee surgery, hip operation or any other medical treatment or just waiting to see the specialist… DON’T GIVE UP!”

I shall be keeping these to pass on to my grandchildren and/or auction them on Trade Me.

A response

A reponse from the executive assistant to Richard Worth, my local MP, in response to my query about the mysterious phone call I received from the person who was trying to convince me that National wanted me to vote for the ACT candidate in Epsom:

MESSAGE FROM RICHARD WORTH
MP for Epsom and Shadow Minister for Justice & Attorney General

Robyn
The short answer is don’t split your vote. The reasons are:
* In Epsom the ACT candidate was polling 14.8% of the candidate vote on 17 July. That has now dropped. Voting for the ACT candidate simply divides the centre-right vote.
* ACT is polling well below the 5% threshold to secure a place in Parliament. If ACT fails to get 5% of the party vote the votes are redistributed in the proportion of the parties which are successful. So some of the redistributed votes go to Labour.
* Voters are asked to TICK NATIONAL TWICE to change the Government.

The ACT candidate is running an argument that National needs him to win Epsom. That is wrong and is part of a campaign of mischief.

Thank you very much for bringing this phone call to my notice – Richard

Judy Young
Executive Assistant
Dr Richard Worth MP for Epsom

Ok, I have a headache.

Phone hex

Update 1: The results of the NZ Herald Digipoll survery were in the Herald today. The Maori Party was predicted to get three seats, but this was based upon the assumption they’d keep their electorate members, because they polled lower than the 5% they’d need to get votes the other way. If I get surveyed again, I think I’ll pick another party.

Update 2: Still no sign of a response from my local MP regarding the “vote for Rodney” phone call.

I seem to be getting a lot of sales or political phone calls lately. Last night I had a phone call that went like this:

Me: Hello?
Caller: Hello, is that Mrs Gallagher?
Me: Uh, do you want to speak to my mother?
Caller: Oh, yes please.
Me: She actually doesn’t live with me.
Caller: Oh, Miss Gallagher?
Me: Um, yeah?

He was fund-raising for some children’s hospital radio station thing. They were putting on a production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and he wanted me to buy a ticket to it either for myself or for a sick kiddie.

Well, when I was a non-sick kiddie, the aforementioned Mrs Gallagher read that book to my brother and I, and I found it very upsetting when the lion died. If I was a sick kiddie, seeing a play of it would not make me feel better or indeed “help take away the pain of their daily lives,” as the phone guy claimed it would.

Tell it like it is

I’ve just emailed my local MP. I’ve never done this before, but I just received a phone call from a strange lady who was very strongly suggesting that National wanted Epsom voters to not vote for the Epsom candidate and instead vote for ACT candidate (and leader) Rodney Hide so that ACT could join National in government.

At the start of the phone call she said she represented a group of people who wanted to see National elected government, but after the “vote Rodney” bit I got a bit suspicious and asked if she was really an ACT supporter. She sounded fake surprised when I reminded her she’d originally said she was pro-National.

She wanted me to answer some questions, but I told her that I didn’t trust her and didn’t feel comfortable answering her questions.

It probably helps that I had recently had the phone call from the nice Digipoll lady who was completely upfront about everything, so I knew that this strange woman’s evasiveness was a sign that she was hiding something.

So I’ve emailed my local MP asking him if National wants people to vote for ACT, or if that woman was insane in the membrane.

It wasn’t like this at the last election.

Askew

On the weekend a lady from Digipoll phoned me to ask me some questions for a poll they were doing for the Herald about how I was planning to vote.

“OMG!!!! I’m voting for Nik!!! He is sooooo hot. Did you see him on his top 24 programme? He was on fire!!!!”

Imagine my sheer embarrassment when I realised she was asking about the general election, not NZ Idol.

I told her that, if an election was held “today”, I would probably vote for the Maori Party. I saw their opening address and was impressed by Pita Sharples’ charisma and enthusiasm. He really nailed it.

Then she asked me what my main election issue was. I didn’t really know, but eventually came up with transport. I now realise I should have clarified that as being public transport, so I’m probably going to end up looking like one of those pro-motorway bitches, which I am, but not as much as I’m a pro-public transport bitch.

Then she asked me if I thought “walyewss” should be taught in New Zealand schools, which turned out to be values with an accent. I said no, because the question didn’t define what these values were (Don’t talk back to yo’ momma? x = 4? Gold is $443 an ounce?)

So if the results of the next Herald poll show pro-Maori-Party, pro-public-transport, anti-values, you know it’s all my fault.