Hadyn Jones: Deciding whom to vote for comes easily for some

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Trout fishermen on Lake Taupo. Photo / Alan Gibson
Trout fishermen on Lake Taupo. Photo / Alan Gibson

If you need an election hiatus, a break from the rhetoric, the finger pointing and the politicians flapping their tongues in the prevailing wind, I know a place you can rest your tired ears and battered senses.

Pukawa is on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. It has 20 full-time residents, and it's the sort of place where they celebrate what they don't have - no traffic, no crime, no pollution and no politics.

You will not find billboards, candidates, leaflet drops or door-knocking in Pukawa. It is how the world used to be before we decided on a popularity contest to decide who gets to run the country.

Pukawa people do have issues though, like where and whether the fish are biting and what way the wind is blowing. Jean Stanley tells me an easterly can make the boat ramp especially hazardous.

I was visiting Jean because she helps her community by trapping the pests that eat our birds and bush.

She is 80-odd and isn't afraid of a dead rat or two. In fact, she says with a chuckle, she finds the killing rather satisfying.

With no politicians in her vicinity Jean has to rely on the media for her information on the election race. This is ironic, she says, because they turned on the television for the election debate the other night, only to promptly turn it off.

Jean reckons the politicians in their shiny suits don't say much worthwhile anyway and besides, she decided who to vote for months ago.

She says that she and her husband vote for the same party, National, but they have never encouraged or instructed each other how to vote. Her Mum also voted National but never advised her who to vote for either.

Jean's husband was a stock agent in the Manawatu before retiring, and I think there must be some National DNA imbedded in people who work on the land. It gets passed through generations. Labour probably has a similar strand originating on the West Coast.

My cameraman confided in me as we were leaving that he has been thinking about the election too but has a different problem. He's sliding left to right and can't seem to stop. He started Green, headed to Labour, voted National last election, and tells me he's starting to like the look of Act.

If he heads any further right, in three years' time he'll be getting a short haircut and signing up with the National Front.

The election is getting nearer, the politicians are turning up the heat, but in the provinces it seems the race has been run. I can see those farmers now, already eyeing up those billboards for winter kindling.

- Herald on Sunday

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