Especially, where do you put your 'throwaway' second vote? [update 1]
HERE'S WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN waiting for: your NOT PC election voting guide to print off, tuck under your arm and take into the voting booth.
There's just three things to be said before I get under way.
Here's the first: With a few exceptions, the electorate vote doesn’t really matter in terms of the number of MPs in Parliament for any particular party, but it does matter in terms of which particular MPs get to fill that party's seats. In other words, your party vote counts, but for the most part your electorate vote doesn't.
Except for the four crucial seats held (or coveted) by minor party leaders, you can't exactly vote MPs out. What you can do however is this:
- you can try to to vote particular MPs in to fill up their party's roster,
- you can use your electorate vote as a 'throwaway' vote, as a protest vote, while still using your party vote as your 'sensible' vote .
The second point to make is this: You're no more obliged to vote tomorrow than you are to go out and buy a three-piece suite. Unless there's someone to vote for, then I say you vote for no-one. Don't encourage what you don't support. If you don't support it, don't vote for it. Do nothing. Don't vote.
And here's the third thing: We are at a defining moment in history, but not in the way Barack Obama says. The defining feature of the next three years will not be a black man in the White House, but the economic calamity caused by years of cheap credit, and how politicians everywhere respond to it. Crucially, they can either make things worse by spending like drunken sailors, or they can cut their coat according to their own reduced income, and get out of the way to allow our own economy to correct.
Let me give you a list of all the mainstream parties who understand this, and who therefore deserve your vote:
That's right, there's not one party responsible enough to promise what's necessary, or even to make promises they intend to stand by. As Peter Boettke at The Austrian Economists blog writes [hat tip Anti Dismal],
Politics may be the art of compromise, but economic policy is not. In fact, compromised economic policy is arguably what caused the economic insecurity we are currently dealing with.
Sad, but all too true. Also true is this: There is only one party at this election offering an economic plan that shows the courage to do what's right, and that party is Libertarianz. (See here for the two-pack: the Don't-Spend-So-Goddamned-Much Plan, and the Get-The-Hell-Out-Of-The-Way Plan.) And despite what many of you might suggest, I really do say with sadness that only Libertarianz has fronted up with an economic plan that's credible in the current climate.
In fact -- and I say this in all honesty -- given the importance of the economy in this election, I was fully prepared to promote any party who any sort of decent economic plan ... if any party had one. I was even prepared to promote Roger Douglas in Hunua if he'd shown he had any idea of the current economic reality instead of fighting the battles of twenty years ago. But he hasn't. And unbelievably, he now wants to cut taxes while letting government spending grow! That's the very opposite of what a responsible party would promote.
OKAY, SO WHAT & WHOM DO I RECOMMEND? For your Party Vote, I say "Vote for what you believe in." If you want to dump the RMA, dump GST and income tax, end the War on Drugs, beat back Nanny State, promote One Law for All, slash government spending and increase freedom for everyone, then only one party deserves your vote. That party is Libertarianz. Yes, they're unlikely to be in government this year, but not one other party has the courage to say what's right, and that vote tells those who are in government that those views are important.
And why vote for something you don't believe in, eh?
But if you just want to vote for bigger government, then there's nothing I can say to help you except "Get the hell out of my way." Any of the bigger parties are as bad as any other, and you're not going to listen to my recommendation anyway, which would be to just stay home tomorrow and examine your soul.
AND HERE'S WHO I RECOMMEND for your Electorate Vote, and there might be a few surprises. My good friend Liberty Scott has done his own electorate voting guide, and for the most part we disagree. For instance, Scott advocates NOT voting for George Hawkins in Manurewa, because "this man isn’t exactly a stunning talent." I say Scott's got that exactly backwards. I say DO vote for George Hawkins in Manurewa BECAUSE this man isn’t exactly a stunning talent. Unless they're hardarses for freedom (and how few are they), then I say the more inept do-nothings there are in Parliament, the better. Give George your inept do-nothing vote, and help keep an energetic hard-working big government enthusiast out of parliament.
And in Auckland Central, I say vote for Judith Tizard. Let me say that again: Vote for Judith Tizard. A vote for Judith is the best possible vote you can cast for do-nothing government. Yes, this is harsh on the twenty-eight-year old Nikki Kaye, but since she has zero life-experience anyway and she looks like she's believed everything her teachers ever told her, I don't think that's any loss.
Call it the Jonathan Hunt principle. Jonathan and Judith cost a lot to run, but nowhere near as much as all the hard-working, energetic big-spenders. Following this principle then, I say vote for every time-serving would-be Minister of Wine and Cheese in every electorate in the country, and by so doing limit the number of hard-working energetic MPs who can fill their party's roster.
Exceptions are in Whangarei where Libertarianz' Helen Hughes deserves a vote ahead of Phil bloody Heatley, New Plymouth where Libz' Mike Webber needs your support, Invercargill where you should vote for Libz man Shane Pleasance, and of course Wairarapa where the magnificent Libz deputy leader Dr Richard McGrath richly deserves your vote.
THEN THERE ARE ALL the odious hard-working sitting MPs. Under MMP you can't vote these bastards out, unfortunately, but what you can at least do is make them worry about their future. I say vote early and vote often against vermin like Nick Smith, Tony Ryall, Bill English, Helen Clark, John Key, David Cunliffe, Murray McCully, Steve Chadwick, Trevor Mallard etc., etc., etc.
Which means vote Maryan Street in Nelson to make that worm Smith worry (at least Street is an honest socialist), Francis Denz in Bay of Plenty (like Scott says "Frances Denz is ex Labour and should be rewarded for moving in the right direction), Roly Henderson in Clutha-Southland (this is a chap who says, “We don’t need our government to do more for us, we need less government so we can do more”), National's Ravi Masuku in Mt Albert (help give Phil Twyford the message that this won't be a safe seat for him in 2011 once Helen's gone), Peter Osborne in Helensville (and damn, Peter's a good Libertarianz bloke too), National's Tim Groser in New Lynn (and in dark protectionist times we need Tim to negotiate any free trade arrangements we can), Elah Zamora in East Coast Bays (a really cool Libz lady), Fred Stevens in Rotorua (another damn fine Libertarianz bloke) and Phil Howison in Hutt South (damn, those Libz really are everywhere)
AND IN SOME SEATS you can vote against an odious would-be MP just to send her the right message: so in Hauraki-Waikato for example you can vote for do-nothing Princess Mahuta to help deny the Marxist Angela Greensill.
THEN THERE'S THE SEATS which the minor parties need to stay in Parliament, or to give them hope about being in Parliament, which for the most part means the seats held by the minor party leaders. I say deny them those seats, or at least try to deny them the security of those seats.
If you're in Epsom, Wigram or Ohariu, then whatever you do don't vote for the sitting MP, thus giving them the message that they have a safe seat -- which all three sitting MPs smugly assume. Vote instead either for the principled alternative candidate - which means in Wigram voting for Libertarianz' Ben Morgan against the positively odious Jim Neanderton -- or for the leading runner-up, which means in Epsom voting Richard Worthless (who also gets the Wine-and-Cheese endorsement, with a camel ride thrown in) and in Ohariu Katrina Shanks (who's far better looking than Peter Dunne-nothing anyway). This means in 2011 the party leaders will have to spend more time in their own electorate shoring up their vote, and less time annoying the rest of the country with their smugness.
If you're in Tauranga, send Winston Peters the message he's dog tucker by holding your nose and voting Simon Bridges (and don't give the Kiwi and Family Parties any electoral oxygen: just ignore them). In Coromandel, send the Greens they'll never again have this seat by voting overwhelmingly for Sandra Goudie (who is a good local MP, also gets the does-nothing-in-Parliament endorsement). And in Botany and Rimutaka, vote against Kenneth Wang and Ron Mark respectively so you can deny ACT and Winston First respectively any sniff of an idea that they might one day lay claim to these seats. This means in Botany you should vote Pansy Wong, and --crucially - in Rimutaka vote Chris Hipkins: do not let Winston in, or think he can one day get back in. Hipkins is bad, but NZ First in Parliament is a hell of a lot worse.
AND IN SOME SEATS, there are just bloody good people who are unfortunately unlikely to get in, but who richly deserve your OTHER vote, the one you can afford to use as a protest vote to send the message that the values these people stand for are good ones. Which should mean voting Lindsay Mitchell in Hutt South (or it would if Phil Howison wasn't also there, sorry Lindsay), for Libz' Bruce Whitehead in Hunua, for Libz Drug spokesman Richard Goode in Mana (although Winnie Laban would easily earn another Wine-and-Cheese endorsement), Takapuna RSA president Michael Murphy on the North Shore (there's just no argument to give the revolting Wayne Mapp a sniff of your vote), Libz self-defence and firearms spokesman Peter Linton in Northcote, organiser of the huge anti-anti-smacking march Mitch Lees in Rongotai, and of course, in Wellington Central, the man who sued Helen Clark in Darnton v Clark, Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton.
AND FINALLY, THERE IS ONE seat where your electorate vote can do something about the party vote, at least in 2011. In Mangere, vote Phillip Field. This sets up the possibility of a by-election in a year or two once Field goes to court, and it sends a message to Labour that they can't rely forever on the Mangere sinkhole for their voting fodder, and to the Kiwi, Family and assorted other Christian parties that they should wither up and go the way of Christian Heritage. And in any case, I still don't think Phillip did anything much wrong.
And like I say above, for an alternative view see what Liberty Scott recommends -- even though he's wrong. And if you don't have a candidate to vote for, then just leave it blank.
And at the end of the day, once the results come in and it's clear that no matter whether Labour or Labour-lite is the winner that the taxpayer will really be the loser, just take a stiff drink and ring your tax accountant in the morning to see how you can hide your money.
Because what we've just seen over the last few months is another advance auction on stolen goods, and if you don't hide your money properly, then its your goods that are going to be stolen.
UPDATE 1: The marvellous Annie Fox agrees with me about Phillip Field. So I must be right. :-)