Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From the other side

Tonight I was rung by a phone canvasser for the New Zealand National Party. I was totally nice, polite, and honest, but it didn’t end well for them.

First, after confirming it was me, he asked what I thought were the four most important issues facing New Zealand. I have to admit, I was caught a little off-guard by that question (surprising, I know). So, off the top of my head I said, “affordable housing, reducing inequality, more money for health and more money for education.”

Then he asked me, “Have you made up your mind if you’ll be voting for John Key and National?” Now if you stop to think about it, this is a dumb question, because it's confusing. I answered “yes” because I have made up my mind. But then, assuming I meant I’d vote for the Nats, he asked, “Have you always voted for National?” I said, “actually, I never have. I always voted two ticks Labour, and I will this time, too. Sorry!”

I was smiling when I said “sorry”, so my voice would have sounded as nice as I meant it, because I obviously don’t bear them any ill will—even though there’s no way I’d vote for them. Also, I admire anyone who volunteers for a campaign (I chose to assume he was a volunteer and not a paid call centre worker); I wouldn’t be mean to the canvasser in any case.

I’m an honest person by nature, so I answered his questions truthfully, and never pretended to be one of their supporters so they’d waste Election Day efforts on me. That absolutely would be wrong and it’s something I simply wouldn’t do, ever. I mention it at all because with all the negative campaigning going on I wanted to be clear that I was completely upfront and above board.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve never been phone canvassed by National before—I’d remember telling a caller for National that I wouldn’t be voting for them. After all, I remember telling Labour canvassers I’d be voting two ticks Labour (I also remember in 2011 telling a pollster that, too).

This is a heavily National electorate, so I don’t know why they felt they needed to ring me when they haven’t done that before. But, at the very least, they know what one of their opponents values, and that tells them why they won’t have my vote. Whether they care or not is another matter entirely.


Mark Pollard said...

I was called by labour the other night, they were asking for my party vote.
I too had empathy for the volunteer because this is a very pro-national neighbourhood and she would have been hammered calling around here. I know this because we went to a street BBQ last weekend and politics came up, eventually I was asked who and why, who surprised them but why did not, I said " regardless of how well I'm doing, those little toe-rags at the end of the street, someone has to ask what about them, because if they don't we can't complain about cycles of crime , suicide, depression or unemployment". I think it was lost on them which is why I'm posting on your thread, but it was worth a go! Advanced societies are judged by how well we look after the poor and down-trodden not by what sort of car is in my garage

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I completely agree (no surprise, obviously). For me, the
most effective way to reach people is just to have a conversation. I don't preach, and I always stay positive—I just bring up real-world stuff just like you did. I don't always win them round, but they at least start to think, which is half the battle.