A response to campaign critics.

Ooookay, this got written as a response to a bunch of spinning over on frogblog, from whingers who wanted to discount our efforts to be intelligible to voters. It got me grumpy, and I don’t even have a hangover! (BTW, it was a great partee last night in Wellington Central …)

As far as getting our message out goes, we spend less on advertising in print media than most other parties. The editorial bias came out promptly.

Have you noticed the two-party bias in the media over the past 3 – 4 weeks? Right down to the TV channels not running a leaders’ debate with leaders from all parties?

I went to a lot of candidates’ fora in Wellington; these were routinely not reported in media, even though media attended. Hearing from their own mouths what other parties’ candidates espoused in the way of policy and core values was very educational.

Shame most of the electorate missed out on hearing about that, ‘cos apart from one sarcastic & condescendingly reported piece in the Dompost, only Capital Times regularly did a round-up question to all the candidates.

Most of the green membership are engaged & capable of recognising, and dismissing, this bias; but mere citizens going about their daily lives, who are not political insiders, didn’t stand a chance of evaluating the ‘minor’ parties in this election race. It says a lot about the media self-selecting ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ early on, and hammering home points to the anxieties of the electorate.

The fourth estate has taken on pretensions of ruling/kingmaking in other countries, this is something we have avoided here up ’til now-ish, but I ‘m concerned that a pattern has been set that will be continued.

In my experience of campaigning for Green electorates, this has been one of the best election campaigns in the past decade. We’ve grown the vote by 33%, added 2 MP’s (and maybe 3) to Parliament, and mobilised a huge force of young campaigners and young voters. All of these seem like good outcomes to me!

For those outcomes, much kudos must go to Gary Reese, the National Campaign manager, and Pete Huggins, his assistant. I’m hoping they both had a huge sleep-in today, and don’t come near the net for a while; but shout-outs, if you’re reading this, guys! 😉

Arohanui ki a koutou katoa, nga kakariki, e hoa maa.

And, in my usual form, here’s some crowd shots from the night:

The Craftsman Bar, from the pavement

The Craftsman Bar, from the pavement

A view of the crush inside ...

A view of the crush inside ...

Umm, there’s more pix up on FB, for those who can find the Green Party event page…

Bussed, bannered, crawled and leafletted

Well, I said I’d be a small green blur, and I was, although not as quick a mover as MP Sue Kedgley, who was up and about much earlier than I, in company of a stalwart team of young greens.
I joined them by the Kelburn viaduct, where we waved banners at traffic for a while, and read the Herald advert, passing the paper around the group. I was absolutely blown away by the power of that bank of images – go the clever person in the Campaign Team who came up with that, it’s a million-dollar montage!

Then we caught a bus down to Manners Mall, leafletting to passersby, and waving banners at the traffic, at the same time. Some innovative juggling went on there! Sue shot back to Midland Park for a while, and some of us peeled off to do other tasks.

I caught up with them again on the Pub Crawl, a valiant attempt to get rid of more coasters, stickers and fliers of various sorts, which started at The Occidental, progressed to The Black Harp, The Featherston, along to Arizona Bar, then down through Chews Lane to the Malthouse (?) and on towards the Backpackers in Wakefield St, then up Cuba St to our eventual destination, Mighty Mighty.

All that without stopping for a drink, which we made up for at the Mighty.
After a bit of social chill-out, I left to catch my bus home, while the youngsters carried on to get rid of a large green bag full of campaign materials…

Happy Election Eve, everybody. Seeya at the partee tomorrow 🙂

Going Green

This is a post I’m putting up for a new Wellington friend, Dan, who begged nicely. I’m all for courtesy mixed with intelligence, BTW. Oh, and a strong streak of autonomy usually works for me, too!
Here’s Dan:

On my way to work this morning I witnessed something which has made my stomach turn in disgust.

Right across Wellington, the National Party have had their little goblins out overnight stapling up expensive hoardings on the basis that if you repeat something often enough, people will think it’s true. What is appalling about this is not that they have done it – we all know that a party like National think they can buy the election, and anyone with half a brain can see that this is what they’re trying to do. What I find absolutely unforgivable is that the goblins have hit every available surface – including other party billboards.

Now, I don’t like the hoardings anymore than the next guy, but every party has the right to go to the expense of getting their message out there if they so choose. For National to come along in the middle of the night and post their own advertising over the top of other parties’ is not only rude, it’s plain undemocratic.

This is what this country is likely to see if we are foolish enough to allow National to form a majority after tomorrow’s vote: A right-wing party willing to run roughshod over everyone else to push their agenda through. This has been a lacklustre election campaign as a whole, overshadowed by the global credit crunch and the US elections, but the rhetoric that we continue to hear from the Right is all about greed: Gutting the Resource Management Act to favour business over community; Canning the Emissions Trading Scheme because it will cost money (in the short term – another sign that financially driven policy is fatally short-sighted); Scrapping the Greens’ billion dollar home insulation fund; and pushing economic growth at the expense of all else.

Economic Growth is synonymous with consumption, and a hundred years of massive growth and consumption have brought this planet to the brink of collapse. Everything that National plans to do if they take the election tomorrow will only push us further towards complete ecological ruin.

The only way to stop this is by getting out there and voting tomorrow. And that vote should be Green, if you care for the planet, or for your children, or for your own health and wellbeing in the future. Don’t let all the hard work that the Greens have done over the past 9 years go to waste.

Get out there. Vote Green.

You can find more of Dan at Freshly Ground.

It’s the last day of Campaigning!

I’m about to turn into a small green blur for the day, but before I go out & leave my Mac to slumber, I’d just like to send a word out to all the candidates.

Kia kaha, e hoa maa, kia manawanui, arohatinonui ki a koutou katoa!

Be strong, my friends, be of great heart, my great love goes out to all of you!

Remember, we’ve been encouraging the young voters to “Do it for the love of it”;
Today, as we campaign, let’s hold that in our hearts.

Today, we do it for the love of our candidates, whom we’ve chosen thoughtfully and carefully, and for the children who don’t have a vote this time.
(And let’s remember those in society for whom we also vote – those in psychiatric institutions or prisons, those weakest in our society, for whom we hold responsibility as citizens, enfranchised).

Soundtrack for the last day:
Kora(Polly, polly, polly,) Politician…
Salmonella DubFor the love of it

Wellington Central National Candidate blooper ..

Ok, this one’s hardly news, and I guess most of us who’ve ever seen Stephen Franks Live will have heard him say this – but meh! I’m going to post it anyway. It’s from the Aro Valley Candidates Forum, on October 14, 2008, at Aro Valley Community Centre.

This is my unsteady-cam, barely edited own work, so be gentle with me, I don’t post much of my own video! He was responding to a query from incoming VUWSA exec member Freya Madeleine Eng, who asked about his quoted statement “I like my dog, but I wouldn’t want to marry him”.
This is about as homophobic as it gets, and Grant Robertson’s face in the background is a study in tolerance, as Stephen Franks digs his own shallow grave…

Country of Origin Labelling, it’s CoOL!

It’s a busy week in the capital, as Wellington Central cooks up into the busiest electorate, with the biggest voter turnout in the country, yet again.
So today, Green MP Sue Kedgely was out in Cuba Mall with supporters, giving out information about what’s in our food and the Country of Origin Labelling campaign, so that consumers can have information about where the produce we eat comes from, and under what conditions it has been grown or manufactured.

The Country of Origin Map

The Country of Origin Map

Passersby were encouraged to complete a quiz to see if they could tell where any of half a dozen food items on display had been produced – which wasn’t apparent from the labelling.

Country of Origin survey participants in Cuba Mall

Country of Origin survey participants in Cuba Mall

Sue was kept busy answering questions from those who participated in the survey, many of whom were shocked to discover Kiwi Bacon doesn’t necessarily contain NZ-grown pork product! [Among other unpleasant surprises … ]

Sue preparing to respond to a question.

Sue preparing to respond to a question.

For more detail on Green food policy, see here.

update: Sue has posted the survey response results here.

A walk in the park, following my (co)leader

At Parliament today, a media scrum in the grounds gathered around Greens’ co-leader Russel Norman and a handful of the media team from Bowen, as he announced the Green Party policy on Open Government.

Russel speaking very earnestly about Open Government

Russel speaking very earnestly about Open Government

And his speech is here

I was intrigued by the image it presented – a tight knot of the city’s journalists, print, radio & tv all present and correct.
So I jumped in, since they’d warmed up the water for me, and swam with the big fish.
Here’s what it looked like:

media scrum and backdrop

media scrum and backdrop

I got a clear view through the scrum, and found this beautiful image of integrity in action:

Clear and simple, for the last week of Campaigning

Clear and simple, for the last week of Campaigning

Taking the train to tackle climate change policies …

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of a couple of hours spent (in a very ‘last-minute’ action) travelling out to Paraparaumu, with a crew of Bowen staffers and some local Green supporters, to join with Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons in a small media stunt, ‘door-stepping’ John Key on climate change policy as he passed through Coastlands Mall on his campaign trail.

Jeanette on the train

Jeanette on the train

We travelled comfortably, Jeanette opening her briefcase & reviewing some documents as we journeyed, at one point. We had no security personnel, we were casually attired, and we did not ask for, or need, a security escort by Police.

How different was the scene surrounding Mr Key – such a lot of staff, media from both networks and the print outlets, and lo! a contingency of Police shadowing him around the very dangerous environs of the Coastlands Mall. Our spotters in the carparks had seen the cavalcade of crown cars arriving, not a difficult group to spot! I had never before considered a Muffin Break café to be a possibly dangerous place, but then I haven’t been trained by the FBI.
Jeanette’s comments on the exchange with John Key

Debriefing over a quick lunch

Debriefing over a quick lunch

We stayed there long enough for the media to disperse, and to do some quick networking with Mana and Horowhenua Greens who had come to support the activity. Some of us ate some lunch, and then we all caught the 1pm service back to town.
Train staff were interested in what we’d been doing, and we had quite an informal discussion on the economy, the future of rail services, and how the cost of living is escalating, with two very friendly and articulate guards in our suburban unit train. To the incidental infotainment of the other passengers in our section …

It was a lovely day out on the Coast, and the views from the train are stunning. Now we just need to get a bit more money put into improving maintenance on the tracks, and getting some new rolling stock up and running, and we’ll once again have a KiwiRail service that is efficient, commodious, and ready to fill the gap that rising oil prices and climate change initiatives have created in our public transport needs.

Consumption and growth theory

Flipping through frogblog today, I found this post What politicians dare not say except for the Greens, which reminded me of a small viral campaign run a few years ago against SUV drivers, parked in public carparks here and there, so I thought I’d share this with you.

...you, yes, YOU!

...you, yes, YOU!

These came as stickers, some full size for the really enormous bumpers, and some half that, for the less extravagant over-consumers.
As a quick aside, could my esteemed friend overseas get in touch, if she still knows where the printable jpeg/pdf files are? 😉

These days, they could be attached to supermarket trolleys at the Warehouse, the way credit-card marketing has turned everyone with a credit rating into an overconsuming member of the national household debt figures.

Transport, part 3!

This is a bit of a plug – for a change, I’m writing a preview, instead of bragging afterwards. I’m aiming to catch a bus down to join this one, so there may be pix up sometime later on Wednesday.

Wellington province Green candidates, and sitting MP Sue Kedgley, will be arriving via buses and trains to participate in this event.

Any local greens who can make it along would be very welcome!

Wellington Transport Strategy Launch
Getting you home faster, cheaper, greener!

When: Wednesday 22 October at 8.30am

Where: Wellington Bus Depot (close to the railway station – outside Victoria University’s Rutherford House) where we will have a bus parked up with our Green signage on it.

What: Candidates from all over the province will travel in by train and bus to meet at the bus depot to launch the strategy. Sue K will give a short speech at about 8.40am and we will hand out copies of the Wellington Transport Strategy to the public.

TV3 will be filming the launch so please come out and support us on your way to work!

Edit: Here’s the update on how it went.

On a wet and windy morning, Green MP’s Russel Norman and Sue Kedgley joined regional candidates Lynette Vigrass, Virginia Horrocks, Gareth Hughes and Michael Gilchrist for a launch of Wellington regional public transport policy, travelling by train and bus and convening in the Lambton bus terminal. They were joined by a staunch group of supporters, who had braved a typical nor’westerly to join in this effort.

New bus ad’s being carried on Go Wellington Trolley buses were launched, with much flair, and attendance by TV3 and photographers from print media, as well as our inhouse film maestro, James.

Leafletting was carried out at the bus terminal and railway station, and then supporters jumped onto a chartered trolleybus, to ride the route down to Courtney Place, stopping to leaflet at Cuba & Manners Malls along the way.

Lynette Vigrass, Hutt South Candidate, with Michael Gilchrist, Mana

Lynette Vigrass, Hutt South Candidate, with Michael Gilchrist, Mana

Virginia Horrocks, Hutt South candidate, speaking with campaigner Fleur Fitzsimons

Virginia Horrocks, Hutt South candidate, speaking with campaigner Fleur Fitzsimons

Some leakage of supporters occurred, as those heading off to work slipped away, but we maintained a core crew to leaflet the Malls and Courtney Place, before dispersing at the National Office.

Gareth Hughes, Ohariu candidate, speaking with Micheal Pringle from National Office

Gareth Hughes, Ohariu candidate, speaking with Micheal Pringle from National Office

Policy is here Wellington transport policy