Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The election comes to me

Today two different parts of the election popped up in front of me. Because New Zealand is a small country, it’s not surprising how, well, inescapable the general election becomes. This suits me, of course, because I’m a political junkie whose passion is everything to do with electoral politics, campaigns, the election process, and how policies are put into action by elected representatives. Today all of that came together for me, and I wasn’t even looking for it.

I was on the North Shore for an appointment today, and I decided to swing by Highbury, the village and shopping precinct in Birkenhead (also known as "Birkenhead Village"). I mainly wanted to go to The Warehouse and the Countdown supermarket there, and as I was walking through the shopping centre, I ran in to the chair of the local Labour Electorate Committee, who told me the Labour campaign team had a marquee out on the street, and that I should go say hi.

So, off I went and as I walked closer I saw someone I didn’t know taking the marquee down, and then I also saw Shanan Halbert was there, too (Michael had told me he’d left). It was a nice surprise. I met Shanan in the 2014 campaign, where we were at many of the same events and got to have some good chats. I ran into him around the community over the years since, including even the grocery store.

Shanan is running an awesome campaign to be the MP for Northcote, which has been fun to watch from afar, but I haven’t run into him until today. I was about to leave, then I remembered we’re in the social media age, so I went back and grabbed a selfie with him (photo above; not that it matters, but this is the version I shared to Instagram, since my personal Facebook is not public, so I can't share posts here).

The selfie was a bit of a comedy, really. For a long time now, I’ve been posting photos to Facebook using Instagram, so when I switched phones I never gave Facebook access to my phone’s camera. Add to that the fact the Facebook App has changed since I last posted a photo directly, and it took me a minute to get it all set up. Fortunately I DID know what I was doing, but for a moment I could feel what an older person must feel when confronting unfamiliar technology. The humour in the situation, together with my relief at solving the problem, is actually in my face.

Shanan was a good sport about it all, of course.

I had the trip to the grocery store next, then on to a second grocery store (because the two sell different products) before heading out on the drive home.

Once I got home, I checked the mail and found that our Easy Vote Packs had been delivered (photo below). Easy Vote is a card a voter hands to the folks working at the polling station to make it easier and quicker for them to find your name to cross off the list. However, a voter doesn’t have to bring the card in order to vote (or anything else, for that matter).

I knew that the Easy Vote Packs were being delivered to New Zealanders this week, so it wasn’t unexpected, but I had no idea I’d be getting it today. And while I knew that Labour volunteers had been out in Highbury, I didn’t know that Shanan was there. So, two different parts of the election popped up in front of me today. That was unexpected, but very welcome. My passion really is everything to do with electoral politics.

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