Not all about win­ning

Otago Daily Times - - General - MIKE HOULAHAN

IN ev­ery race some­one has to fin­ish sec­ond, but in last week­end’s gen­eral elec­tion some can­di­dates fin­ished more sec­ond than oth­ers.

Of the hun­dreds of can­di­dates who stood for the 71 elec­torate seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, 22 had fewer than 50 peo­ple vote for them. Three can­di­dates re­ceived fewer than 30 votes.

One of those three was Dunedin North in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Stan Lusby, who had 29 peo­ple put a tick be­side his name.

Mr Lusby, about to turn 77, is a veteran of po­lit­i­cal knock­backs.

He first stood for elec­tion in 1984. He has been on the bal­lot sev­eral times since, but is yet to make it past 100 votes.

‘‘I’ll stand (in 2020) even if I get two votes,’’ Mr Lusby said.

‘‘I’m not just some­body who craps out all the time . . . I didn’t ex­pect 32 years later to still be push­ing it up­hill, but here we are.’’

Mr Lusby has been doggedly ad­vanc­ing two poli­cies dur­ing his po­lit­i­cal career.

Firstly, he wants to see Hansard es­tab­lish a ‘‘de­mo­graphic pro­cess­ing unit’’ to track the opin­ions of reg­is­tered vot­ers.

Peo­ple would use an app on their mo­bile de­vices to regis­ter their opin­ions on up­com­ing votes in Par­lia­ment, and MPs would then be guided by that in­for­ma­tion — and pro­vide ‘‘an au­dit on our democ­racy’’.

Sec­ondly, tax should be de­ducted at a fixed, agreed rate when it ex­its bank ac­counts, which Mr Lusby es­ti­mates would pro­vide enough in­come for New Zealand to do away with both in­come tax and GST.

‘‘It’s hard if peo­ple don’t hear you,’’ Mr Lusby said, lament­ing that he had been un­able to get much me­dia cover­age, and that in­vi­ta­tions to can­di­dates meet­ings had also been hard to come by.

‘‘There is a cer­tain level of in­ter­est in what I say . . . but I’m not some­one who has masses of money com­ing in. ‘‘That’s why I don’t get any­where.’’ Dunedin North vot­ers also snubbed phar­ma­cist Adrian Graa­mans, who polled just 87 votes for his in­de­pen­dent can­di­dacy.

‘‘I’m al­ways re­al­is­tic about it: I never ex­pected to be in Welling­ton on Mon­day,’’ Mr Graa­mans said.

This was the sec­ond time Mr Graa­mans had run for of­fice.

He pre­vi­ously stood un­suc­cess­fully for the South­ern Dis­trict Health Board.

Stand­ing for elec­tion in Dunedin North meant Mr Graa­mans was able to con­vey his views to Labour’s health spokesman David Clark and Na­tional Cabi­net min­is­ter Michael Wood­house, a for­mer hospi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tor, as well as to the wider public.

‘‘I think that by par­tic­i­pat­ing I achieved more than it might ap­pear,’’ Mr Graa­mans said.

‘‘I am strongly in­volved in health, and that was my key area where I thought I would like to get a bit of air time.’’

Dr Clark pro­vi­sion­ally won Dunedin North elec­torate on Satur­day with 18,037 of the 31,038 votes counted.

There is still hope for Messrs Lusby and Graa­mans and co though — spe­cial votes are yet to be counted.

PHOTO: HAMISH MA­CLEAN

Con­sen­sus . . . Stan Lusby re­laxes at his Mo­er­aki home yes­ter­day.

PHOTO: GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON

Health ad­vo­cate . . . Adrian Graa­mans in his phar­macy.

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