Wearing my politics on my fence

One of my colleagues is part of Generation Zero, an organisation that’s putting the lie to the idea that young people aren’t interested in politics any more.  With the elections coming up she’s been getting involved in a lot of the local campaigning, and she mentioned the other day that the Greens were looking for people willing to host election billboards on their properties.  So I told her she could give them my name, and my front garden now loudly proclaims my political leanings.

Actually, I don’t even know if I’m going to vote Green yet – I’m still deciding (and in fact I’ll probably end up splitting my vote, often a useful strategy in MMP).  But they’re definitely strongly in the running.  And, more importantly, I live in the heart of what has always been a very safe National seat.  National is about as far from my own political beliefs as it’s possible to get (well, almost – there’s a couple of minor parties even further to the right), and our local MP is very high up in their list, so it can a bit disheartening at election time to know that no matter who you vote for, he’s going to get back in – I can understand why some people don’t even bother to vote.  So it seems important to show that this electorate isn’t actually only made up of National supporters – maybe it will encourage someone who wasn’t planning on voting to think that their vote will actually have a chance of making a difference (and who knows, maybe it will – I’ve actually seen quite a few left-leaning billboards springing up around the area over the last few days – maybe there’s a shift happening?)
And if nothing else, hopefully it will be a small irritant to Gerry Brownlee next time he drives past (which he does do occasionally – his electorate office is just up the road) 😉

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  1. I put a campaign sign in my yard once, many years ago. That turned out to be a very bitterly fought election, and I was disappointed in the candidate (not a graceful loser), who happened to be a former schoolmate of mine. I haven’t put a campaign sign in my yard since then.
    Yours is a party sign rather than one for a particular candidate.

    1. Hopefully our election doesn’t get too nasty, although there’s already been a whole load of muck-raking, and some really horrible stuff exposed, so there’s not much cause for hope…
      And yeah, for smaller parties you’re much more likely to get signs advertising the party rather than a candidate.
      We have a MMP (mixed member proportional) system in NZ – you get two votes, one for a candidate and one for a party. The candidate with the highest number of votes in a particular electorate wins that seat and becomes an MP, but then the party votes across the entire country are used to determine what proportion of overall seats each party should have. If a party wins fewer electorate seats than they should have proportionately, then they are topped up with extra MPs taken from a ranked list of candidates from that party. So parliament is made up of a mix of electorate MPs and “list” MPs, who are just attached to the party, not to any particular electorate.
      For the smaller parties like the Greens, who are unlikely to get enough support in a single electorate to get an MP, they tend to just go for the party vote, which, because it’s taken over the whole country, can get them enough support to get quite a few MPs. I think the Greens have about a dozen MPs in parliament currently (out of 120 total), all of whom are list MPs.
      A lot of people vote strategically, splitting their vote between two parties depending on who they think has the best chance of getting in – for example, last elections I gave my party vote to the Greens, but gave my electorate vote to the Labour candidate, because I thought he had a better chance of defeating the sitting National MP for my electorate than the Green candidate did.
      This all sounds so complicated when I write it out, but it really does make sense to us! 🙂

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