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Friday, 7 July 2017

Elections 2017: Minor political parties you might not know about (but might want to consider voting for).

It was a bitterly cold Wellington afternoon and Q and I were walking the grounds of Parliament eating ice cream.*

We had discussed our usual topics of the day and were now idly speculating on the outcome of the coming election as we strolled past the statue of "King Dick" Seddon out the front of his old place of work.

What surprised me was that Q was unsure who to vote for this time and seemed to be having a crisis of the faith as he was not able to bring himself to even consider voting Labour (his usual party) this September.

When I suggested (jokingly) that he try National this time he made a pained face and muttered something under his breath which is as much of an angry profanity that his gentle nature would allow.

I then proposed the usual litany of other possible candidates (Greens, Maori, ACT, United Future and NZ First) but Q's mood only deepened and he seemed fixated on finishing his ice cream.

So we walked around the parliamentary library, up Hill Street and past the British High Commission before he suddenly stopped and turned to look back down the hill towards the National Archives and the empty Defence House on Aitken Street. I stopped too, knowing my friend well enough to see that he was about to say something very serious.

And there we stood, two middle aged, middle tier, civil servants, rugged up against the bitterly cold Wellington wind, clutching half eaten ice-creams: me looking expectantly at him and him staring out across the harbor as if he was expecting something to appear above the Rimutakas.

"I think I will lodge a protest vote" he said slowly before returning to his ice cream and starting back down the hill without a further word. I stood for a few moments considering this before hurrying after him.

We then wandered through the back end of parliament with its combination or parking lot, green lawn and those two abstract stone sculptures (where we, and others, lunch in the warmer months) and discussed the matter further.

And it was there that we settled on the notion that it was important to vote as a democratic right but its was also equally important to make that vote count, if only as an expression of disgust at the state of NZ politics.

So if the thought of casting your vote in September is making you feel queasy then take solace in the fact that your not alone.

And in summing up each of the main parties in a single word/phrase its easy to see why.

National = Corruption**
Labour = Ineptitude
NZ First = Self-interest
Greens = Compromised
United Future = Expired
ACT = Rabid
Maori = Divided

None of the main parties does anything in voters minds but make them wonder what is the point of voting when one is as bad as the other and its in such fertile ground that the specter of FukYoo Politix raises its head and your vote ends up maintaining the status quo (National) because your too apathetic do do anything about it or dancing down the primrose path to the tune of some populist  promise that will never come true (NZ First).

Even worse you might still be caught in your primitive political loyalties which mean just because you voted such way once you will keep on voting that way forever no matter what they do (Labour) or (even worse still) back some idealist who will sell you out the instant they get their hands on the levers of power (the Greens).

Or you could find yourself backing political hacks (United Future) who swing whichever way the wind blows or supporting some political make work scheme for elite interests (ACT)***.

And lets be very clear here, few (if any) potential outcomes of this election are going to be something to dance in the streets over.

Either its National, swinging open the death camp doors, for another three years or Labour/Greens and NZ First congealed together into some unstable mutant of a government of competing ambitions and egos with no chance of survival.

Perhaps we might get "blessed" with some bizarre combination of parties all scrabbling to make and maintain a government while all those issues (you know the ones) which are ruining this nation get worse and worse while those we voted in to fix them just enjoy their new and improved salary, office and travel perks and do diddly squat.

Its then, when you see such a bleak landscape, that even the lure of self interest looses its pull as you realize that unless your tipping a third or more of the average wage into a parties coffers your not going to be getting anything back in return except the modern day equivalents of beads and blankets, baubles to keep you occupied while the man in the red tights stears the hand basket into the flames.

But even if NZ, and much of the world, is becoming a clusterf**k it is still a democracy and like any enraged democratic consumer we still have the right to refuse to smile when we are thrown over the concrete traffic barrier, greased up like a 50s Doo-wop hairdoo and then hosed down to the tune of free market cultists and their catamites chanting "whose been a bad boy?" over and over.

No sir, you don't have to smile when being abused for the sordid gratification of others; you do have to clench your teeth and take it until the all that pent up anger spills out in some explosion of nerd rage that takes you back to that day when you were five years old in Mrs Larson's class and Nigel M hassled the hair cut your mum gave you, calling it a "bowl cut" again and again until you snapped and went into a desk flipping frenzy that ended with you sobbing hysterically in the cloak rooms afterwards while the care taker was called to take you home.

So if your going to use your vote as some sort of political middle finger then you need the kind of middle finger thats stiff, hoary and has knuckles like walnuts so that when they tally up the vote count they know you voted but you are not endorsing any agenda they, or the rest the clowns, are pushing.

By using your vote in a fantastical, seemingly pointless or even just bizarre manner you continue to reaffirm the democratic ideal but don't have to crawl painfully away after and spend the next few years bitterly arguing with other partisan tools about who you did, or did not, vote for, concocting outlandish and strange theories why things are still getting worse and how things would only be better if "people had just seen reason" and ticked the box like teacher told them to.

Thus come September 2017 it is going to be the season of the protest vote, no more backing the turds in the bowl which refuse to sink no matter how much you flush, this year your going to taking that big knuckled, middle finger and be jamming it up the backsides of Bill, Andrew, James, Winston, Peter, Paula, Gerry, Jacinta, Grant or any other of those who are now going to have to work that little bit harder when they lie to prevent another "ugly insertion".

And maybe, just maybe, if we insert enough fingers come polling day we may be able to send a message, a terrible un-clipped fingernails, first time rodeo type of message to those in the Beehive who have let us down time and again and sold us out.

So check out the list below of those who you should be voting for on that crazy September Saturday because your vote is the only chance every three years you get to send a clear message (unless your planning to climb a clock tower with a rifle) which has any definite effect on those who would rather we just shut up and sit down while they eat all the pies.

In no particular order are those parties that are currently registered:

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party: With discussion of potential law reform in this area what better way to send a message and get the munchies at the same time.  But seriously, the arguments against medical marijuana have never made sense (unless your a pharmaceutical company with a competing product) and with alcohol doing more damage daily then people smoking weed it makes sense. Check them out here.

The Internet Party:With a platform of cheaper and faster internet, clean energy and green technology as well as restrictions on the security services and the TPPA these guys could easily pick up the fallen mantel of ethics before politics that the Greens used to have before they decided to be "fiscally responsible". Don't let their previous association with Kim Dot Com fool you, there is a lot to like about what they advocate. Download them here.

Mana Party: Forget Hone Harawira being demonized in the media and think of Mana based on their policies of a living wage, tax on financial transactions, nationalization of monopolies and duopolies and more state houses. Their alliance with the Maori party is a marriage of convenience not one of vision. Website here.

Ban 1080 Party: for just $5 dollars you can join this party and save the forests. As someone who has woken to bird song many many times I have a soft spot for these guys and have never felt that 1080 was the only way to solve the problem of pests in our native forests. Save the birds here.

Democrats for Social Credit Party: These guys have been around and got over 100,000 votes in the 1987 election. Lets see if they can get that again. I like their ideas of reforming the present monetary system, their wish to remove GST and their Universal basic income plan. Sign up here.

NZ Peoples Party: Any party that gets Winston's goat because they focus on the rights of immigrants can also get my vote because I am the son of an immigrant and we are a nation of immigrants. I'm still for safe boarders and security but that has nothing to do with people who want to come to NZ and live lawfully. Learn more about them here.

I have omitted The Opportunities Party because I am working on a post on them and Gareth Morgan is less a protest vote than another rich mans political fantasy and the Conservative Party for exactly the same reason (the fantasy not the post writing).

After finishing our ice-creams Q and I walked back towards his place of work on Stout Street. He was smiling and seemed to be in a better mood and I sensed that he was looking forward to September now the same way I used to look forward to water bombing the occupants at the bus stop outside my local girls school as a teen.

For the record, Q is as establishment as they come and when someone like him starts to smile at the idea of electing some political unknown "just because" I know its not just an one off idea but something that is far larger and just waiting for a push.

Of course the main parties will likely predominate come the day after and you might even be called a fool for wasting your vote but if you consider the definition of insanity to be "doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result" then doing something different this year, and endorsing anyone but the regular brand of gormless politician, by voting for one of the small parties I have listed above, then you  are neither a fool nor apathetic but giving our ailing democracy a shot in the arm and exercising your democratic right to elect any crazy loon you choose.

And who knows they might just turn out to be better than what we have now.


*-Why? Because that's what we always have after lunch when we get together, regardless of the weather.
**-Although if I was allowed two extra words they would be arrogance and hubris
***- Which works if you are a member of the elite otherwise it makes no bloody sense

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