With just over nine weeks to go until election day, the question must be asked. Why don't I give a rat's patootie?

Further, for the first time in my voting life, I am an undecided voter. It's a weird sensation and one I'm completely unused to. Not that I've voted one way my whole life. I haven't. Times change, people change and I'm far from tribal. Judge me if you must.

I won't deny that elections can be invigorating and energising. Like taking a mid-winter plunge into icy water. Bracing beyond breathless belief. Sadly, I haven't experienced such a thrill about voting for a very long time.

So, I've decided it's okay to feel this way. My response - or non-response - is just as legitimate as all the partisans parsing their personal politics on every media platform known to mankind - none of which will influence one jot what I end up doing in the ballot box.

Advertisement

I guess, along with rising numbers of others, I'm electorally burnt out. I view voting as increasingly pointless. Sure, I'm certain I won't be voting for National or ACT. Absolutely, I want to see a change of Government. As day follows night, this I know. So, what's the problem?

First, let me blame the electoral choices.

Labour strikes me as tedious, tame and tired. Basically, they're more of the same. Nothing radical there. Hard to tick that box. They're so boring I can't even bring myself to say much more.

The Greens are less boring but win big in the piety stakes. They're way out of step with the environmental credentials they've built their brand on too. I watch their ardent, earnest supporters at rallies make heart shapes with their hands and find myself literally fighting back waves of nausea. I guess I'm not feeling the love. What's wrong with me?

Winston? Sometimes he gets it so right I want to kiss him. Then, as I'm puckering up to do just that, he gets it so wrong that my lips lose all interest and unpucker extremely quickly. Also, Shane Jones? What was he thinking?

As for those minor parties bringing up the rear, the problem is that a vote for them won't change the Government. I'm nothing if not realistic.

I guess, along with rising numbers of others, I'm electorally burnt out. I view voting as increasingly pointless.

Second, let me blame the nature of campaigning.

The overt play for media soundbites. followed by squeals of disapprovals from the partisans when it doesn't come across exactly how they wanted, is an endless cycle of yuck. Yes, the media's great when you need them - and how the pollies need them - but suddenly bloody terrible when they don't do your bidding.

Advertisement

Campaigning has essentially morphed into a giant reality TV show in the sub-genre style of soap opera and, if you're human-centric, it's the near perfect escape from what's actually going on around you. It's addictive, and not in a good way.

The tribalism, good versus evil, black and white narratives, the rah rah. It could be an All Blacks test. Obviously, it IS far more important but, when that's the packaging, you start to doubt it.

Third, let me blame the divisiveness of it all.

Used to be people didn't talk about their voting choices. My parents' generation didn't generally tell anyone how they voted - including each other. I'm not suggesting that's better, but it was done to stop petty political arguments at the dinner table. Or at the pub. It worked.

There was a sense that it was a private matter to be taken very seriously, and that it was nobody else's business. Like faith, and masturbation. Heaven forbid.

Now, you just have to jump on Twitter for five minutes to hear all about everyone's personal, sexual, intersectional, and political thoughts on just about anything that walks.

Nothing is sacred anymore.

Finally, just because I'm totally uninspired doesn't mean others aren't loving the game. It's war, and some people love war. It's just I've lost my appetite for the fight.

My sense is that 2017's election will be a killer. It will test friendships, familial ties and, in some cases, the will to live. It will be ugly, brutal and acrimonious. The folks making the heart shapes with their loving hands will be scrabbling down in the dirt along with the most cold-hearted Tory.

The question then is will New Zealanders emotionally survive the campaign, let alone the result?

We are an extremely divided country right now, and this election is crucial for many. Three more years of what we've got? I hope not, but would a change of faces and some policy tweaks outrun the planetary mess we find ourselves in? I sincerely doubt it.

Either way, this reluctant voter, will see you at the ballot box. I'll be there in body, but my spirit left the building ages ago.