This my last plea! I can’t tell you who to vote for. But I can ask you not to give up your rights.
This week my column is about why it’s important to vote. You might think your voice doesn’t count. You might think the results are a foregone conclusion. But if you don’t vote because of that – then it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
I am unashamedly obsessed with politics, and I get that many people aren’t. It can be a difficult subject to find a way into, and if you don’t get how it effects you, then it’s tempting not to care. Especially when, if you only watch the 6 o’clock news, all our leaders and potential look like the same bunch of idiots.
I can tell you that they’re not. There are people in politics who are doing their absolute best to make change, to do what’s right for our country. They’re working for you.
And regardless of which party you happen to believe those people belong to, regardless of what path you walk, you have a right to be part of that.
When I read these Electoral Commission survey results, which gave some reasons people didn’t vote in the last election, I was horrified. I can understand not being able to make a decision. I can understand not wanting, for ideological reasons, to participate in the democratic process. I can understanding not being able to be enrolled, for whatever reason.
What I can’t understand is just not caring. Literally not being able to be bothered using the only say we have in what goes on in our country.
You vote will affect
How much money you make and how much you pay in taxes
Whether you can even get a job
Whether you have somewhere safe to live and at what price
What groceries you can buy and at what price
What healthcare you can get
What education your child might have
Whether New Zealand land and businesses go into foreign ownership
Whether our environment – which we need to live and which also massively effects our economy – is protected
How our vulnerable people – the elderly, impaired, and ill – are looked after
How you’ll be able to live once you stop working
If you’re a person with a uterus, what your reproductive rights are
Should I go on?
I can understand how it looks like what happens “in the beehive” doesn’t mean much to you. But in the age of the internet there’s no excuse for not having the information. It’s not difficult to access, there’s heaps of websites devoted to helping you make the right decision for you, and for our country.
This Election Cheat Sheet, which has a real simple breakdown of what each of the parties is promising to do for us
Ask Away – where politicians answer your questions
If you still can’t choose, Vote Compass can help tell you which party most aligns with your beliefs
I know I’m probably a little too involved in what’s going to happen this Saturday. But it’s a bit hard not to be. As someone with a lifetime illness, I know that it’s going to have direct impact on my everyday life. It will probably influence my benefit and my access to healthcare, and that’s just the start.
But that’s only half the reason I give a damn about politics. I give a damn because women fought for the vote. I give a damn because men and women went overseas and fought for New Zealand to remain a democracy. I care because of all the things I listed above – politics isn’t an abstract beast that you can choose to ignore. If you don’t vote, you’re accepting the status quo. Whether you do or don’t vote, and how you vote, can have a massive impact on not only your future, but that of your family, and your friends, and your possible children and grandchildren etc etc etc to infinity.
Yep, I can wax on this til I get blue in the face and I’ll keep going. I’ve been told I need to care less, for the sake of my blood pressure, for the sake of my friends, who probably are near to death over it and desperately want to change the subject.
Ok, ok, I’ll chill out.
When I’m retired.
JUST GO VOTE.