Heather Roy

6 September 2017

Although I miss some aspects of being involved with politics, I’m really pleased not to have to ask people for a vote any more. Election campaigning is very hard work for those from all parties, but especially so for the small parties struggling with the 5% threshold of our MMP system.

“I like your policies, think you have a great team of people and would like to give you my party vote” is music to the ears of the minor party candidate. The problem is the “BUT” that follows …

“but I don’t want to waste my vote.”

People who say that have usually made up their mind to vote for one of the two big old parties. And that’s exactly the situation we are currently seeing. With the help of the mainstream media this election has become a two horse race. The minor parties have been left behind, with little in the way of media coverage, so people are left thinking that supporting them is a waste.

I used to ask people to think about this problem the other way round. If everyone ignored tactical voting and gave their party vote to the party that best represented their views we would elect a truly representative parliament. Many are too quick to compromise their views and fall in behind National and Labour, then get a government they believe doesn’t really act in their best interests.

TOP leader Gareth Morgan has done a piece to camera (scroll down to ‘Wasted Vote 2017’) talking about what a wasted vote really is. It is well done and thought provoking – well worth a look.

I do think the 5% threshold for parties who don’t win an electorate seat is too high and should be re-evaluated. The only wasted vote is the vote that isn’t cast. I’d say this election, as I have in every other since 1996 – have the courage to vote for the party you believe in. Without your support they have less chance of representing your views.