Who will I vote for?

Early voting opens in just under a month. Election day is in six weeks, on 23 September. A lot has happened in politics over the last two weeks, and some of those changes have affected my thinking on who I might vote for.

Here is my current thinking:

National: still possible, if I decide that I want the least change from current policies, and if I think the risk of a Labour led alternative is too great. I’m ok with English as Prime Minister and generally ok with the current Cabinet (albeit with some concerns).

Labour: possible now, if I decide that National is too stale and a change will be good for the country, and I don’t see too many problems with a coalition also involving NZ First and Greens (a big concern). Jacinda Ardern has stepped up to the leadership role well, but the Labour caucus still looks weak and the influence of Grant Robertson a concern.

Greens: from unlikely to less likely, unless they look at risk of missing the threshold and I want to help keep them in Parliament – I’ve always supported a Green voice in Parliament on environmental issues in particular but also on pushing for better social policies (without wanting to go to the socialist extremes they favour).

NZ First: still no. Peters is too undependable, can’t be trusted to keep his word, won’t commit prior to the election, too many dirty attacks on opponents. The NZ First caucus is weak, I don’t like Ron Mark and I don’t think Shane Jones adds anything positive.

Maori Party: still possible if I think it’s worth helping them retain a second seat via the list, I don’t agree with a lot of Marama Fox’s policy preferences but I think she contributes a strong alternative voice in Parliament (and she’s prepared to listen and change her stance if the facts justify it).

ACT Party: possible if it could get them a second MP to help David Seymour, who I think has achieved a lot this term starting with a party in disarray.

United Future: looks to be a wasted vote so still very unlikely.

The Opportunities Party: quite possible if it looks like they could get close to or over  the threshold. They are the best chance of adding fresh input into Parliament, and would probably be less risk than NZ First or greens holding the balance of power.

Spoiled vote: I see no need to deliberately spoil my vote.

No show: possible but unlikely. I have voted in every election this century (for four different parties) and am likely to front up at the local booth on election day (I will leave my decision until the last day I can vote).

I’m aware that some staunch party voters my be puzzled by my approach to deciding who to vote for.

Going by past comments about my way of voting and about floating voters some may be appalled.

But I think many people have a range of reasons why they might vote one way or another, and this group generally decides the outcome of an election.

One of the strengths of democracy in New Zealand is the relative lack of highly charged partisanship.There are a lot of softly committed or uncommitted voters who vote based on how they see the merits of the options put before them in an election.