I have just voted in our NZ elections. As I won't be in my electorate on election day - and in solidarity with the Americana in me - I decided that I would vote today on the 4th of November.
I've thought a lot more about it...
1. I decided to help make MMP work and vote for a minor party. This is because I am more and more troubled by the abuse of power in the political process and want neither Labour or National to rule alone. As a nation we are becoming more comfortable with making MMP work and I want to encourage the skills involved in working as a coalition.
2. I will never ever vote for a Christian political party. The very notion of such a thing is wrong-headed in my view. The place for Christians is not clumping together in a party with an unseemly and embarassing grab at power - but as individuals salting and lighting and yeasting and disseminating their way across the politcal landscape as part of the scattered church at work in the world.
3. Nor will I vote for a party that is unlikely to make it into Parliament because either they can't get 5% of the popular vote or they don't have a person winning their own electorate seat. That is what I call a wasted vote.
So with what options does that leave me? The Greens, Maori Party, United Future, Progressives, probably ACT and probably not NZ First.
Now where do I go? I start looking at the bigger picture and the littler pictures (policies).
4. With the bigger picture... it is one thing for MMP to be at work, it is quite another for Labour to come a pretty distant second in the overall party vote - but because they can cobble together more left-of-centre coalition partners find themselves back in government. This is a possible scenario. I do not like the sound of that. I think that would be wrong. It makes me far less open to Greens and Progressives.
5. With the littler pictures... it is a case of trying to understand the nuances of policies. As recent posts have mentioned I will resist being told that good governance is primarily about making everyone more prosperous. It is primarily about ensuring justice. This makes me uneasy about ACT on both counts. I do not like them on Law and Order and I am still not convinced that they have much heart for the poor.
6. I have a lot of respect for Tariana Turia in the Maori Party but I wonder aloud whether (like with the Greens) they are going to do just fine in this election without my help. They will have a strong and effective voice.
7. So this brings me to United Future. I was leaning their way and so I went to their campaign launch to get a sense of the flavour and be more informed. It was worthwhile. While it is too late for Income-Splitting for our family I'd love others to benefit from what seems to be an eminently sensible economic policy. Policies on tertiary education and health also make sense to my limited mind.
Plus I am drawn to a minor party that can be in a coalition with the Left in one election and with the Right in the next. That appeals to me a great deal, particularly on ethical issues where I also want to straddle the political divide. And knowing people in a party makes a big difference. I have huge regard for Denise Krum, sitting at #3 on their list. Yes, I would like to see a person of her quality make it into Parliament. I need to be honest and name that reality for me.
Moreover if National wins the election and forms the next government I'd want United Future to have as many seats as ACT (if not more) and be the stronger coalition partner, a role in which they have great experience.
And so - I got there in the end !! - this is why United Future ended up with my party vote.
There are my thinking processes laid bare.
I hope they help you with yours (if you are a Kiwi, that is)
Now we wait and see - and pray!