‘I worry about the en­vi­ron­ment’

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - EME­LYN MCHARDY

Vot­ing was some­thing I’d thought that I wouldn’t do when I was younger.

I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand the im­por­tance, and was not in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics, prob­a­bly like many young peo­ple.

Stats on vot­ing in Hamil­ton show not many young peo­ple be­come in­volved in elec­tions, and I didn’t want to be a part of those sta­tis­tics.

It prob­a­bly wasn’t un­til I was 18 that I ac­tu­ally re­alised that I was given the op­por­tu­nity to con­trol my fu­ture.

Vot­ing sea­son is very strange. Peo­ple be­come more de­fen­sive and can be­come quite up­set when you’re opin­ion is dif­fer­ent.

I had a few peo­ple in my life try to con­vince me that who they were vot­ing for was the best choice and I should vote the same.

But I’m much too stub­born for that.

Elec­tion night I sat ner­vously watch­ing Ra­dio New Zealand’s John Camp­bell with a drink in my hand al­ter­na­tively flick­ing my at­ten­tion to a white­board of drink­ing rules for elec­tion night.

I don’t know much about our po­lit­i­cal his­tory, but I’m pretty sure this is the clos­est Labour has been to Na­tional since 1999 when He­len Clark be­came prime min­is­ter.

Most peo­ple think Win­ston will side with Na­tional but with the ‘‘king maker’’ hav­ing good re­la­tion­ships with both main par­ties, I think it’s any­body’s game.

Or at least I hope it is. Peo­ple worry about the econ­omy. I worry about the en­vi­ron­ment.

I went to an en­vi­ron­men­tal elec­tion meet­ing at Waikato Uni­ver­sity to get some more in­for­ma­tion about the par­ties’ poli­cies on the en­vi­ron­ment.

I re­mem­ber one of the politi­cians say­ing with­out a good en­vi­ron­ment we can’t have a good econ­omy. We need good food and good wa­ter to be able to do any­thing.

I thought then that I would 100 per cent vote Green. As a ve­gan that made the most sense.

But I didn’t.

My first vot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the gen­eral elec­tion hap­pened quite spon­ta­neously.

My part­ner and I were go­ing to The Base when we saw that there was a vot­ing sta­tion.

Feel­ing like a ner­vous child, who was walk­ing into school for the first time, I walked in still un­de­cided on which party I wanted to vote for.

Want­ing to make an ed­u­cated de­ci­sion, I did watch a few in­ter­views with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Na­tional, Labour, NZ first, TOP and Green.

Af­ter Labour said they wouldn’t in­tro­duce any new taxes in their first term, I knew who I wanted to vote for.

-Eme­lyn Mchardy is a jour­nal­ism stu­dent at Win­tec, work­ing with the Cam­bridge Edi­tion and the Hamil­ton Press.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Cam­bridge Edi­tion wel­comes let­ters and opin­ion ar­ti­cles to its Con­ver­sa­tions page. Let­ters must be about 200 words and opin­ion ar­ti­cles, 400 words. Send in your con­tri­bu­tions by noon, Fri­days, to: emma.james@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz

MARK TAY­LOR STUFF NZ

Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent Eme­lyn McHardy was a first-time voter at this year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

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