Vote smart

I've been door-knocking about the general election, and find many people are still not aware of the effects of their votes.

If you just want to express your views, by all means vote as you wish. But if you want your vote to count, think strategically.

The key is your party vote, which contributes to each party's share of the 120 seats in Parliament. That party vote determines who will form the government.

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If you want the present government to be re-elected, you give your party vote to National.

If you want to change the government, on present indications Labour may need the support of either NZ First or the Green Party. No other smaller parties are likely to get over the 5 per cent threshold requirement.

Recently the Green Party has been only just above the 5 per cent threshold. If you want to be certain that Greens are in Parliament, then a party vote for the Greens makes a lot of sense.

For your general electorate vote, there are only two candidates who could win the seat - Stephanie Lewis for Labour and Harete Hipango for National.

To give that vote to a candidate from any smaller party, who will not win, could make a difference to the local result.

Whatever happens to the Whanganui seat, however, will not affect the total election result. That hinges on the party votes and the outcome of this election may hinge on voters who think strategically about both their votes.

DAVID JAMES, Whanganui
Forum turn into rally

I'm sure I am not the only one who wondered how last month's Whanganui & Partners forum morphed into a party political rally featuring a cabinet minister touting National Party projects and promises.

The public was invited to the Cooks Gardens function centre for what was billed as W&P's second forum. The agenda for the hour-long afternoon event was advertised in advance and promised an opportunity for feedback, ideas and questions after a presentation by W&P on its role and, particularly, the port revitalisation project.

Yet the Chronicle reported the next day that "[cabinet minister Nathan] Guy yesterday sang the Government's song to Whanganui civic and business leaders and members of the public".

Myles Fothergill, appointed by the district council to chair W&P, invited Minister Guy to attend and speak five days before the meeting. No effort was made to publicly notify this surreptitious change to the agenda.

It seems that for Mr Fothergill the imperative to provide a platform for one party contesting the September 23 election over-rode the advertised and ostensibly politically neutral agenda for the meeting.

W&P was established in 2014 as a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to act as the economic development agency.

Essentially, CCOs are the product of the council outsourcing its responsibilities and are ultimately owned by the public. And the council is expected to establish clear expectations to its CCOs about how they will engage with the public.

If those expectations include providing a platform for National Party propaganda, then someone at the council needs to tell us, and explain why they think this is a good use of a ratepayer-funded organisation's public profile.

We should all be wary of this kind of violation of the political neutrality which Whanganui citizens have every right to demand of our council, its staff and its outsourced functionaries.

CAROL WEBB, Whanganui
Who's sorry now

It seems our politics have got the same going potty disease as the United States and Britain.
A few weeks ago Metiria Turei described NZ First's immigration policy as racist. In taking theatrical umbrage at this, Winston Peters warned darkly: "There will be consequences."
Now look what's happened. It makes one wonder who is regretting or celebrating, doesn't it?

L E FITTON, WhanganuI
End times gets wet

Paul Brooks' editorial last week on Bishop Brian Tamaki's warnings of "the end of time" is spot on.
Perhaps, however, the bishop may be misinterpreting the signs - instead of the "end times", they could be signs of a second "great flood".
If so, Pastor Hannah should trade in her new Mercedes-Benz Coupe for an up-market ark.

DOUG PRICE, Castlecliff