Friday, July 19, 2013


I write a lot about politics, including both the USA and New Zealand. Politics is probably the thing I’m the most interested and passionate about, so this only makes sense. I believe citizens MUST be informed, but I also think they should be active and engaged, and I certainly try to be.

I’m a member of the New Zealand Labour Party and have been, off and on, for years. I recently joined a regular contributor programme, and I received the enamelled button in the photo in the mail this week, a sort of reward for agreeing to be a monthly contributor (I’m one of the “Victory for Labour” people). It doesn’t cost much to be a party member, though: Labour’s annual membership starts at only $5 for the unwaged, with suggested higher amounts based on how much one earns (which probably makes people want to choose the highest amount they can afford; brilliant, really). I prefer giving the monthly amount so I don’t have to worry about renewing my membership. I didn’t know I also got the nifty pin.

Why join a political party? Many people don’t after all. I joined in part so I have a say. As a member, I will have input into who the party selects as the Labour candidate for this electorate. Should I choose to do so, I could play a bigger role, in the campaign next year, yes, but also in the party generally. I think those days are probably behind me, but I do want to have input into who the Labour candidate is.

The bigger question is, why Labour? The answer is that it’s the party that, taken as a whole, best represents my views—particularly because at the moment, only Labour or National will lead a government, and I MUCH prefer Labour-led government.

NO political party is perfect, and Labour certainly isn’t. I’ve criticised it in the past, and will again, no doubt. Nevertheless, for me, it is the best.

The Greens are the only other party I could support, but, for me, they have fewer positives than Labour, starting with their perceived “unelectability” (in the sense of leading government). Every year they get better and better and will make an excellent coalition partner for Labour. That’s partly because the Greens are more left-ish than Labour is and will help keep Labour from drifting too far to the right. At the same time, Labour will keep them from going too far left. An excellent progressive balance, in my opinion.

Citizens have an obligation to be informed voters—and to vote, of course. I also think that citizens should take the next step and be active and involved voters. Being a member of the NZ Labour Party is one way in which I try to live up to my own ideals.

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