As we go to the polls to cast our votes in the last act of this most tumultuous of election campaigns, we should remember that we are not voting for a party or person.

We are voting for what sort of New Zealand we want to wake up to on Sunday, September 24.

Surely we can put aside our divisions in favour of the greater good and concentrate on what unites us. We can't have come this far in our life as a nation without developing some common principles and hopes that we all share; outcomes that will produce the best New Zealand today and for the generations to come.

We want a New Zealand that is imbued with the spirit of the brave explorers who set out from their homelands and made dangerous voyages here - first from Hawaiki, then hundreds of years later from Europe and again, decades after that, from other countries all over the world to create a new homeland that was better than what they left.

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And we want to see that spirit of adventure and drive maintained to carry us forward into the brightest possible future.

We want a society where those with initiative and drive - the vigorous builders and doers of this world - can fulfil their potential and inspire the rest of us. Where the Number 8 wire mindset meets the entrepreneurial spirit and the possibilities are endless.

And we want this to be a society where no child will come into a world of uncertainty, but all will feel secure, able to take it for granted that they will be fed, clothed and sheltered as a basic human right; a society where no child will suffer or fear violence at the hands of an adult.

We want a country in which the old, no less than the young, are respected, even if they can no longer "pull their weight" or "make a contribution", and where their knowledge and hard-won wisdom are appreciated as the great resource they are.

We want a society that recognises that to be outside the mainstream is mainstream. Where diversity is prized for its own sake as well as for the richness it adds to our culture.

We want leaders who will act as trustees of all our natural resources, protecting them for the future, while also recognising and taking advantage of the potential they have, using them wisely to increase general wellbeing.

We want leadership that will see New Zealand held up as an example around the world - a country that, despite its small size and population, sticks to its principles and does what is right, not because that may have some economic advantage, but because it is right to do what's right.

New Zealand has been such an example before and it can be again.

We want leaders who can bring cultures together, rather than create and exploit gulfs between them; who can incorporate the best of what all our peoples have to offer into the notion of what it means to be a New Zealander.

Whoever leads this country should demonstrate respect for those whose opinions differ from theirs; they should not build themselves up by putting others down; they should not encourage those who do not have the country's best interests at heart; they should not evade the truth and dissemble when it comes to their own failings.

That's the New Zealand I want to see for my children and grandchildren. Not looking too promising, is it?