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Letter To NZine
- Problems For Voters

Margaret Clarke - 26/11/99

Tomorrow is polling day and I am still hesitant about which party to vote for. I have made a decision about the vote for a candidate as I attended a meeting at which all the candidates for the electorate gave a five minute prepared presentation and then answered a series of questions from the audience. This was an excellent way to see them in action as it tested their preparedness for the occasion and their knowledge of their parties' policies.

How many people took the trouble to attend such a meeting? - very few! Some people have said that as ours has traditionally been a safe seat for one of the major parties their vote for the candidate will make no difference and is unimportant. Even if that is true surely the calibre of the candidates chosen by each party is one indication of the party's values and strengths. In this case the candidate for the major party unlikely to win the seat was unsure of the party's policy and was a poor ambassador for that party. Three of the candidates for minor parties spoke with conviction and showed a good grasp of party policy.

The apathy of the electors seems to me to be the most outstanding characteristic of this election. A huge number of those eligible have not bothered to enrol. Commentators tell us that the support for the Government will have been affected by the All Blacks being defeated at the World Cup and that if the weather is wet this will reduce the number of votes cast. With the future development of the country as an issue these seem trivial factors to influence the voting.

Because of television the major emphasis is on the leaders and we are shown photos of them ad nauseam. Was Winston Peters right when he said to Kim Hill yesterday that the problem is that both the leaders of the major parties have been members of Governments that blatantly broke their pre-election promises? History and a reasonable memory of what has happened since 1984 make deciding on the party vote much more difficult.






 
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