Uni offers Greener pastures

By Claire Trevett

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has launched into the land of the great undecided voter - Auckland University's campus, where the students are easy prey after being caught up in the fug of exam study.

First up is one of the Greens' photo stunts - three pregnant women with "Vote for Me" painted on their stomachs, complete with the required stamp of the Greens' authorisation statement.

Among them is Marama Davidson - daughter of actor Rawiri Paratene, who is a Green Party candidate and one of the party's celebrity endorsers.

Then Ms Fitzsimons heads to the Quad, where the students sit.

"Will you vote Green on Saturday?" she asks politely, brandishing her leaflets. The first four she meets are undecided, and remain so when she leaves. But Louise von Benzon, a student at the animation school, says she's now "leaning toward" the Greens, purely because of Ms Fitzsimons' chat.

"I don't really know enough about the other parties, and I don't want to just tick a random box."

Ms Fitzsimons listens to the students' concerns. Most like the Greens' stance on public transport. They all like her policy of wiping all student debt and for the universal living allowance.

While Helen Clark is urging her supporters not to vote Greens under the misapprehension this will help Labour form a Government, Ms Fitzsimons tells the students not to vote Labour if they really want the Greens.

Around a table are five first-time voters who've banned political discussion over drinks because "it just gets nasty".

Andrew is tossing up between the Greens and National. Another backs Labour, one is unsure and Abby is National. "I rely on my parents' support, so what's best for them is best for me for the next three years at least."

Ms Fitzsimons clinches the fifth - Steven Fernandez has just decided to vote Greens. "She's the only person who's taken the time out to talk to us."

One asks why he should vote Greens rather than National.

She says National "wants to put the environment on the backburner while they wrestle with the economy". She says the two are interdependent.

Just before she leaves, she asks Steven if there's anything he wants to know. His reply: "Can you help me with my economics exam?"

- NZ Herald

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