zeborah: Helen Clark telling an MP: Diddums. (diddums)
[personal profile] zeborah
Local body elections are arguably less important than national government elections, but they're a hell of a lot more fun. Here in Christchurch we get mail containing our voting papers, instructions, and candidate information, and you get to read everything, tick your favourite boxes, and post it back.

The fun comes in because many of the candidates hold views on the world which are somewhat orthogonal to reality. My normal method of voting goes: scan the 14 manifestos; eliminate those who couldn't be bothered to spell-check or include a photo; eliminate the weirdos (weird quotes are in bold so you can scan for those if you get bored); choose between the remaining 3 candidates.

Candidates for mayor
Actually this year someone's managed to get photos out of them all and possibly ran a spellcheck for them too. This is disappointing! Nevertheless, Candidate #1 refers to "Youth policy's" so he's gone.

I just noticed something. They're all men. Also I think all white (based on names, badly lit photos, and general silence on subjects of race, but I could be wrong) but while disappointing this is not so startling.

Candidate #2 is my preferred candidate; he's a politician so his manifesto has good grammar and says nothing. <rereads manifesto> Actually, dude. Quit with the implications that Christchurch is dangerous when we're actually the safest town in the country. Deleted!

Candidate #3 is from the Workers Party which is fine until he randomly starts talking about national policies and opposing "NZ military presence in Third World countries such as Afghanistan". Deleted.

Candidate #4 is a single-issue candidate (water - it's a hot topic but I fail to care). Deleted.

Candidate #5 makes "euthenics" sound weird but interesting until he sideswipes the local Māori iwi and then caps it off with a stunning proposition to "[put] the city's drunken homeless in Sunnyside mental institution". I... Does he want to make certain everyone realises it's a joke or is he serious? Anyway, deleted.

Candidate #6 has some ideas I like. But they are ideas rather than policies and I get the impression that he thinks he can get into office, implement them, and then make the rest up as he goes along or delegate it or something, maybe he hasn't thought that far ahead, who knows? They're great ideas, though. He should totally recommend them to our next mayor. Regretfully deleted.

Candidate #7 at least mentions a woman, but I'm always suspicious of people who think that their greatest qualification is being married with children. And a company director and served in the army, and waffles about how we need a strong candidate to tackle the real issues which he doesn't name. Deleted.

Candidate #8 is the current incumbent. I don't like him a lot. He responded well to the earthquake - mugged for the camera a bit (whereas my hitherto-preferred candidate did work out of the limelight on the grounds that traumatised people don't really need a camera in their face) but generally did well. But I don't need to vote for him on that grounds because everyone else will. Although he does refer to additional libraries, community centres and pools, and makes a point of saying that Christchurch is NZ's safest city. Obviously he does it to reflect well on himself but still I like it when people speak against the fear-mongerers.

Candidate #9 is a smooth writer but again implies that the city isn't safe and manages to also imply that it's ugly. Okay, chunks of it are, but I think he meant before the earthquake. Deleted.

Candidate #10 waffles a lot and ends "I am honoured to be considered for Mayor of this beautiful historic city" which, seriously, judging by some of the other candidates it doesn't take much to be considered so isn't much of an honour. Deleted.

Candidate #11 wants us to become "the 51st State, or a commonwealth country of the of the United States." If you want to share the hilarity he has "an enlightening web page, http://51st-state.com, exposing ALL, any technical reasons .... Just Google me." Deleted.

Candidate #12 starts with "Kia ora". It's probably just appropriation but it's the only non-derogatory mention of Māori from the lot of them. He's mostly just a single-issue candidate though (water again). OTGH he's got Civil Defence and Emergency Management experience. Hmm, maybe I'll google and see what he means by "social inclusion". --Ooh, he seems to mean it.

Candidate #13 is qualified because he owns a store and "I'm openly corrupt: I'll give you a free quote for every vote". He also has terrible spelling and grammar and I love how he ramps up his rant to "Lets get it right this time, I'm to busy for B.S. so make your vote count! Plus don't forget the leaky Homes." Was this dictated onto an answering machine after one two many beers or something? Deleted.

Candidate #14 seems to have issues with national energy pricing policies, and then he jumps to, "My experience with health suggests the government seems to favour medication over medical devices that can increase blood flow by 60%-70%, without tablets." Then he tacks on the obligatory line about water. Deleted.

So that narrows it down to two.

But wait, there's more!

Two councillors for my ward
  1. has experience, is a generic old white guy
  2. is young with two engineering degrees and financial qualifications, plus family history of serving in the council, plus some of his own experience
  3. speaks in bullet points but mentions libraries and other good things (and some things I disagree with) and wants "Friendship hands extended to new residents particularly those from overseas" which is bad grammar but wow, someone making a point of being pro-immigration?
  4. speaks in the 3rd person but has experience and also has experience with a local marae trust - a rare off-hand mention of Māori
  5. opens with a pun. Which he extends into a longwinded metaphor. Forcing myself to read more I learn that he's married to a doctor and attends church. Um, yay?
  6. is standing for mayor too. He opens by saying "Thanks for voting for me last time" which seems to be code for "I lost then, too."
  7. loves the city. Hmm, "Neighbourhoods are the glue that holds a happy, safe city together" is capitalising on the fear that the city is dangerous but it doesn't actually promote it. Nevertheless his waffle bores me.

(Boots entertains herself by knocking down my pen and chasing it back and forth across the room.)

Five board members for my community board
  1. tells us it's hard to choose the candidates you vote for, except in bad grammar. Has experience but his qualifications include being married with children and liking sports. Also fear-mongers over personal safety.
  2. is bullet-point guy! Oh, he's missed out an apostrophe, what a shame.
  3. says the city needs people. Also he's concerned about water.
  4. is proud he went to school here. Sounds like he's got good experience otherwise though.
  5. has a hotmail address. Also he refers vaguely to "an issue that has huge ramifications to our community" without spelling that out exactly, but I think I know what he means and disagree with him on it.
  6. is a woman! And she's Ngaitahu-Taswegian Scots and Irish, and married to a Samoan! And has piles of experience! She mentions water but otherwise seems quite reasonable.
  7. is another woman! She loves living here, but at least she has experience.
  8. aspires to "use my skills of juggling and balance to assist in bringing greater harmony and vitality to the community of which I am a part" and points out that his experience in entertaining people would give him a unique expertise.
  9. is the pun-meister
  10. is standing for every election he's eligible for, isn't he?
  11. again says "Kia ora" and refers to civil defence. Bet he didn't realise when he wrote it how topical that'd be.
  12. has spelling mistakes and run-on sentences and his qualifications consist of being married with kids and lifesaving, yet seems to have been in council before. Can I cast a negative vote? We should be able to cast negative votes.
This is always the hardest part of the election because I have to choose 5 candidates but only really like 4. For the other one I have to choose between the clueless youngster and the guy who forgets apostrophes.

(Boots sits on my voting paper and cleans her toenails.)

Seven members for the district health board
I was wrong, this is the hardest part. I have to rank them in order of preference. Have you ever tried ranking 28 people in order of preference? If only they'd printed these single-sided, then I could cut them out and shuffle them around.
  1. has to tell us how his irrelevant experience is relevant
  2. a woman with experience
  3. bullet-point guy!
  4. a woman with experience
  5. has lived with a disability; law and political qualifications if not experience
  6. lots of experience
  7. experience is more political than health-related; but refers to "Lake Ellesmere 'Waihora'. Can't tell from googling if he's Māori himself but still.
  8. no photo, boring, conflicts of interest
  9. a woman with nursing and other medical backgrounds; copy-pastes part of her text from #11
  10. "There's no such thing as 'schizophrenia'. It's all done with two way transmitting bugs to talk to mainly young people with potential. If the 'talking' is ignored, they are stung with an electronic cruelty machine.
    "Major heart surgery may be a thing of the past if experiments I have done by flushing beins through with sulfaric (not sulphuric) acid with the registered CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust) chemical, to get rid of lime, waterstone and cholesterol by making an insertion at a wrist vein. I can't go any further, and need 2 medical students to continue this.
    "
    There's a short sensible paragraph then, "Genetically modified fat tomatoes etc, result in genetically modified fat people. Exercise is not much help. Watch what you eat."
  11. a woman with nursing and midwifing experience plus financial and IT skills; copy-pastes part of her text from #9
  12. has a kid with a congenital disease
  13. a woman standing for reelection
  14. has a kid with severe allergies and asthma so thinks the most important issue is free parking at the hospital. I mean, yes, but...
  15. a woman, various clues suggest Māori. Bio is brief but seems to have experience
  16. Pacific Island heritage, experience in health issues for Pacific people, refugees and new migrants
  17. City Missioner. I had cause this winter to write to him to tell him that Seasonal Affective Disorder should not be mocked in the City Mission's newsletter as an imaginary illness for rich folk wanting an excuse to go to Fiji. He responded to me pretty graciously and published an apology, but.
  18. political rather than health experience; weird focus on birth
  19. dentist
  20. woman, physiotherapist, otherwise meh
  21. GP with experience on the health board, a child has Down Syndrome
  22. woman with experience in various non-health boards
  23. woman who... goes to the doctor sometimes?
  24. the guy who wants to cure all by using medical devices that can increase blood flow
  25. woman standing for reelection; ties with Special Olympics NZ; mentions Māori, Pasifika and Asian health
  26. financial experience
  27. financial and political experience, psychiatric nursing, medical equipment servicing, and 25 years in the funeral service industry. Believes in free parking for visitors
  28. is going to be old soon so has a vested interest in health; his actual experience is apparently secondary to this

(Boots is getting decidedly skittish, but fortunately that's it for the next few years.)
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