Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A sexy three-step guide to voting

1. Ignore policy: Yes, everyone wants to assert their superiority complex by talking about policy and the economy but really what’s the point? You know what Labour stands for broadly and you know what National stands for broadly. That hasn’t changed and it aint gonna change anytime soon. If a party all of a sudden has a big idea, then maybe we could focus on that. Asset sales – that was National’s big idea. Except they did it in the 90s, so whatever. Capital Gains Tax – that’s Labour’s big idea – pretty much a no-brainer given our housing market. National would implement it if it hadn’t backed itself into a stupid corner by virtue of John Key. Whether you are a single issue voter or a multi policy stud, I say you go with your gut but don’t vote on an empty stomach. Hangry voting is like hangry grocery shopping. But let’s be honest here, you are not going to look at party manifestos, you aren’t going to go watch interviews and Parlmentary speeches, you aren’t going to make a pro-con list. You are going to go with what you have heard and seen while browsing at work. And that is ok. It’s ok to vote National because you think John Key is a swell guy. It’s ok to vote Labour because David Cunliffe’s Harvard education appeals to your sapiosexuality (might be a real word). It’s ok to vote Greens because you think Metiria is really cool. It’s ok to vote Internet-Mana because they are a flash new toy and you are curious. It’s ok to vote ACT because you pride yourself on being a heartless libertarian. It’s ok to vote CrayCons (Colin Craig's Conservative Party) because you like hitting children. Wait… that’s not ok. Nope. Not ok at all. I don’t know why anyone would vote for them. Seriously.

2. Strategery: That’s not a real word. That’s a G W Bush word. But I like that word a lot. Anyway, moving on. We live in a MMP world. We have to break ourselves free from the prudish FPP outlook on our electoral life and embrace the free-spirit world of MMP. You no longer have to subscribe to the monoga-vote (also not a real word) but you have the freedom to biga-vote (not a real word, but should be). Two votes! At the same time! Sexy! Think about what you are trying to get out of your vote. In some electorates, it will be a straightforward two ticks. But in some places, you could get adventurous. Consider it. Think about the boring voters in Cluth-Southland and their lack of choices. Election after election, it's the same two ticks. Boooooring. If you are on the social conservative or ‘libertarian’ side you have to think about whether or not you should give your party vote to the CrayCons (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party) or ACT. Will Epsom get David Seymour in? Will the CrayCons get to the 5% threshold? It’s anyone’s guess really. Trust the polls? It almost feels like Game Theory here. What will the other prisoners do? If you are on the left, you may have to consider voting for a National candidate in a place like Epsom. Scary. But strategery. What is the end game here for you?

3. Have fun: Whether you go to the polls on election day or you choose advance voting – have fun. Take your kids. Take your friends. Get a coffee. You are exercising your democratic right that many people in this world still don’t have. There are people who literally risk being beat up as they go to the polls.  Even if you subscribe to that school of thought that says “your vote doesn’t count” – who cares? It might count, it might not but you have a teeny tiny role to play in choosing who governs this country. Make it fun. You don’t have to vote National or Labour – there are all these other parties unlike the United States where people have to choose between 'really horrible' and 'kind of bad' candidates. The government makes laws that govern every aspect of your life. You might as well try to put in some constraints. Tick those circles! We may end up with 9 political parties in the 51st Parliament - SUCH FUN! 

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