It's Election time!

September 23 is the day that Kiwis go to the polls in the 2017 General Election.  In New Zealand, you need to be enrolled to be able to vote.  The criteria is that you need to be 18 years or older and a citizen or permanent resident, and have lived in the country for one year or more continuously.  Exclusions include citizens who have not been within the country within the last 3 years and permanent residents that have not yet lived here for a year.

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote.  This came about in 1893, after years of suffrage campaigning, led by Kate Sheppard.  Emmeline Pankhurst followed suit and in 1918 British women also won the right to vote.

Voting is a privilege not just a right, no matter which party wins or loses.  This is the basis of democracy.

So who to watch out for?  Here are the top 5 parties as per the 2014 General Election results.

National Party
Leader - Bill English 
Values - Less debt, more jobs, strong stable government
Slogan - Delivering for New Zealanders
Ideology - Nationalism
Political Position - Centre Right
The ones to beat - The party won the 2014 election with 47% of the vote, led by then Prime Minister, John Key.  Key resigned in Dec'16 and was succeeded by English.

Labour Party
Leader - Jacinda Ardern
Slogan - Let's do this.
Ideology - Social democracy
Political Position - Centre Left
Let's do what?  Jacinda has been opposition leader since 1 August 2017 after Andrew Little resigned.  At 37 she brings a fresh face to the party but it must be said that the party manifesto isn't as clear as some of the others.

Green Party
Leader - James Shaw
Values - Ecological Wisdom, Social Responsibility, Appropriate Decision-making, Non-Violence
Slogan - Love New Zealand
Ideology - Environmentalism
Political Position - Left-wing
The controversial one.  Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader in August after media raised historical welfare offending (as in 20 years ago).  Which is a shame because in my opinion theirs is the best slogan of all.

New Zealand First
Leader - Winston Peters
Values - 15 Principles - starting with 'Put New Zealand & New Zealanders First.'
Slogan - Stand with us.
Ideology - Social Conservatism
Political Position - Centrism
At 72, Peters is a long standing colourful MP, who's known for his anti-migrant quips such as "We have now reached the point where you can wander down Queen Street in Auckland and wonder if you are still in New Zealand or some other country."

Maori Party
Leader - Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox
Slogan - Make it Maori, Make it Happen 
Political Position - Centre Left
Although the Maori Party only won 1.32% of the vote in 2014, they are a big consideration in forming a coalition Government should the need arise.

Make your vote count!


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