Choice easy for centenarian

By Rebecca Savory

1 comment
102-year-old Jim Owen kicks off the 2014 election, in the Tauranga electorate yesterday. Photo / George Novak
102-year-old Jim Owen kicks off the 2014 election, in the Tauranga electorate yesterday. Photo / George Novak

A 102-year-old Tauranga man kicked off the general election in Tauranga yesterday as the first person to cast an advanced vote in the Tauranga electorate.

Jim Owen had voted in every election since his 21st birthday and yesterday arrived 40 minutes early to the communal area in his rest home to cast his 28th vote.

"If there was something good on TV I might forget," Mr Owen said, explaining his eagerness.

It was quick and easy for him to decide, having voted for the same party, National, for the past 81 years.

"I've known what to do for 100 years," he said.

The Electoral Commission was undertaking advanced voting at all the care homes in the area for staff, residents and visitors which began yesterday at Cedar Manor.

Mr Owen had always been very interested in politics, spending a lot of his time after he left school canvassing for the National Party with his dad.

He had also worked as an election scrutineer, observing and monitoring the voting process.

More than 80 years experience had taught him to look beyond the dirty politics.

"It shouldn't make any difference to the election because people should be voting on things like the economy not all the dirt that's floating around."

Voting was very important for every New Zealander, he said, and he hoped people would stop and take the time to think about it.

"Everybody should vote. Then, when you have a Government, you can't complain which one you've got."

However, he left the decision up to the other residents at his Cedar Manor home yesterday.

"They're old enough to please themselves," he joked.

Mr Owen said he watched both New Zealand and Australian Parliament TV to keep learning, despite the arguments between MPs.

"That's where you learn things or I'd get bored.

"They try to score points against each other, especially Winston Peters."

Mr Owen was feeling confident of MP Simon Bridges and the National Party heading into the 2014 election.

"The way I look at it, if you do change the Government then what's the alternative?"

Anyone could cast an advanced vote starting yesterday leading up to election day on Saturday, September 20.

Click here to find where you can vote early

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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