2020 marks the 12th election that I have voted in (although while overseas I almost missed out on voting in 1996). I have only voted one way on each of those occasions. In the end it all comes down to what I believe in, being self-determination and hard work and the party and/or candidate which best matches that.
It's always been a pretty easy decision except for two times. The first came in 2002, when I went into the booth determined to vote another way but, with felt tip pen in hand I "came home" to the party I had always voted for. At heart I am a centrist leaning right. As it happens that particular poll was a disaster for that particular party and, given that I was a committed supporter, the fact that I almost voted elsewhere was a signal that all was not right with the party – and that is how the election result panned out.
The second time, was this time. Unlike the first time, I was pretty steadfast that nothing was going to change when I handed over my voter identification card and engaged with the friendly scrutineering people at the former Frank Bar. I'd even go so far as to say that it was all going well until I was in the booth and read the voting paper. And I can see my left leaning friends reading this going "aha!" and quoting Luke Skywalker "there is good in him"!
Many people will identify with moments where their life flashes before their eyes, or how TV shows often show protagonists having mental flashbacks or visions. However, I had, as if he was standing in front of me, a vision of my brother (Greg) saying to me that he had "voted according to my beliefs and principles" - part of a conversation regarding early voting.
And for a very short time, my pen hovered over options which, even a month ago, I would have never considered. One as a "protest" and the other as a potential tactical vote to keep another party out. Why you might ask?
Because of a leaked email, but more so the behaviour behind it. I will let you in on a secret, I really cannot abide selfish actions, but that amplifies exponentially when that undermines a team effort or an agreement.
I also, when part of a team, just don't do political plays because it always brings down a collective effort. The only winners in those circumstances are the opposition and the leaking of an email in early October (which undermined the herculean efforts of Judith Collins and party faithful giving up their time and effort) did just that. And, evidently, I am not alone in being unimpressed.
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So, for a short time, there I was – undecided, which definitely isn't me.
Like a tennis player who has just been aced, I needed to gather myself and I promptly went and marked up the referendums (which was easy – again, matching the vote to my beliefs and principles (my vision of Greg, like the apparition of Quantum Leap, giving me the thumbs up).
Back to the political page I went to make the party and candidate choice. And it is here that I will leave the final decision on both of these to the sanctity of the booth and your imagination.
It may turn out that, given in the times we are in, the end result of a Government which is not encumbered by the nonsense of our asinine MMP system is possibly better for the speed of decision making the country will require as the effects of Covid bite. As an outcome, there hopefully will be no "tail wagging the dog". But, like many, I am looking for better policy around business and SMEs for the times ahead and for the Government to stick to their representations throughout the campaign.
And I think that if Judith Collins had more time, a more unified team and balanced media airplay the result might have been closer. Congratulations to winners on the night.