Election day

After everything going haywire for a while it has all gone quiet, and generally we are supposed to remain mute on party preference and party politics until 7pm tonight.  That has lead Imperator Fish to go on a journey of arbitrary things (one, two, three, four).

I’m going to stick to election related points that are irrelevant instead:

  1. There was lots of advanced voting this time.  And yet this is the first time I haven’t advanced voted.  I’m pretending this is due to pure chance, rather than it being a statement about how cool my choices are.
  2. This is my first time in “Wellington Central”.  I quite like this electorate to be honest :)
  3. Does anyone else get a bit nervous that the ink from the orange pen will stain another part of the voting form, and your vote will be thrown out?
  4. On that note, the orange mark shows up on the back of the paper – I don’t really like that either.
  5. Why can people yell out you outside of advance voting booths, but not outside of voting booths on the day?
  6. Do I have to wear my “Yes I have voted” sticker all day to stop people yelling at me?

So if you haven’t go vote.  Preferably, wear orange:

Spam, buses, and votes: A Bleg

I have seen a lot of talk about the “vote buses” running around, and I’ve been wondering – do they really make much difference?  Is it a prisoner’s dilemma (more a zero sum game) where parties have to spend money on the bus tour if the other party is to keep their vote the same, and if they didn’t the bus tour would be “super effective” – or are bus tours ineffective, and political parties just do this because they believe they are effective?

Then I looked in my email and noticed that the quantity of politics related spam was increasing at a seemingly exponential rate.  Exacerbated I did what anyone would do, passive-aggressively complained on social media:

Unsurprisingly to anyone who reads the blog, I was never going to be very responsive to the communist cat-call given I think it makes no sense.

As a result, I was just wondering if anyone has any knowledge about the effectiveness of political marketing techniques, especially during different stages of the election cycle. Marketing is a general issue that we’ve written a little about here (here, here, here – and which is related to views on addiction), so any research you guys know of would be of genuine interest.

Some policies to consider for the election

As I’ve stated, I’m disenfranchised at present.  But you might not be, and you might want to consider the trade-offs embodied in the social-economic policies of political parties – good stuff!

I haven’t had a chance to write much detail about anyone bar the Greens – I have tried to pull things together, but haven’t had the change to finish things off.

However, I did manage to give an outline of some policy comparisons to Rates Blog last week.  This can be found here.  The policies I discussed were:

  1. Debt repayment
  2. Minimum wages
  3. Monetary policy
  4. Capital Gains Tax
  5. Carbon tax and ETS
  6. Transport infrastructure
  7. Income tax
  8. Corporate subsides
  9. Land taxes
  10. Guaranteed Minimum Income

Feel free to discuss the policies below – I’ll try to answer comments prior to Saturday :)

Conspiracy theory of the day

This election hurts my head, so I thought I’d note down some of the strange thoughts it is giving me.  View this as no more than the ramblings of someone who hasn’t had enough sleep.

I was talking to my Mum yesterday, and we were both surprised with Laila Harre being involved in the Internet Party – with the “robust debates” between members and a range of incompatible belief structures seemingly undermining the idea that this was an alliance based on ideology.

I say alliance, as both my Mum and me remember her from her days in the Alliance party, and we both have massive respect for her as a politician and for her work outside of parliament.  In this way, her leadership of Internet-Mana funded by a misogynist millionaire (no more offence intended than the offence I’ve taken from some of his tweets about women) and the fact she didn’t stand in a winnable electorate both seem strange.

But then it occurred to me, perhaps she is part of the Chris Trotter school of politics – where the ends justify the means, the ends in this case being the removal of the “right” from power, given that “progressives” are inherently “good” while the “right” is inherently “evil”.

In this case, Internet-Mana actually constituted a threat to the progressive program – as it predominantly ate up the votes of established left-wing parties.  Becoming leader of the party, undermining it, and using its funding to push a narrative that will mainly support the Greens on election day, are all actions consistent with this.

Like I say, this is a conspiracy theory with no substance.  But this has been a very strange election …

Why I’m voting Civilian

I don’t like to talk politics, and I don’t like to “pick” parties.  I don’t like the arguments that cause more heat than light, and I genuinely think that the vast majority of the people in parliament are good people – so the attacks on these people that occur just upset me.

Last Friday when I wrote this I was on the fence between National or Labour – and after I’d picked one I was going to decide whether I’d vote for the party, or a support party (the Greens or the Maori party were my picks).  I had found this election hard to make a pick on, but I’d generally preferred the policy costings and transparency compared to other times, so I was feeling good.

What was missing from the post I wrote last Friday was a section I deleted at the end (a point 11).  This point said that any information about the undermining of New Zealand institutions, such as through TPPA agreement details being made public, dwarves the issues I have discussed in terms of voting importance for me.  In this section I had written that I only left this to the end, as I had sufficient trust in New Zealand political institutions that I don’t expect this to turn into an important issue.

Now we have the recent discussion of Project Speargun, adding to the long process of New Zealand integrating itself into a global data connection network – a process that has been going strong as part of a war on terror that has included both Labour and National governments.  With obfuscation always part of the discussion around these types of issues, it has also become more likely we’ll see the same sort of lack of clarity around the TPPA in NZ – irrespective of the party that is in power.

It is with this sort of disenfranchisement that I initially recommended having a protest vote party – such as the Civilian Party – exist for.  As a result, for consistency sake I will likely vote for them on Saturday (the first time I haven’t voted early in my life as I wait for information).  Let me discuss.

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Discussion Tuesday

Today just a quote from someone I was talking to:

I used to think I hated just economists due to their arrogance, the arrogance of knowing about the social and economic world.  It turns out I hate everyone as, as everyone seems to believe they know how the world works and how to fix it.

It is a general sentiment (around knowledge) that I agree with – although the hatred is unnecessary.  In truth, my view is that it is undue confidence about our own folk model of the economy/society is part of human nature – accepting we know a lot less, and trying to make our statements around policy transparent and testable, would be neat things.  In my view this is what good “economics” involves.