YOUR WORD: What I’d like from the election


OPINION: Every three years we see a classic centre-left, centre-right debate, and 2017 is no different, Esther Whitehead, Sustainable Queenstown NFP founder writes.

This I find intriguing in a MMP system, which is not a de facto two-party structure. Whilst there are others to vote for on our election cards, we think we can’t, as it won’t count ‘enough’.

Our political system encourages tactical voting for the most likely winner rather than the party that aligns most with our value system.

I wasn’t surprised with my alignment on the Online Vote Compass, but I know many are surprised that their habit of voting left or right is just that, a habit, when their value system often aligns with a party they have never voted for.

I hope we see less tactical voting in this election, and that we ignore the ‘noise’ of the single policy promises that may, or may not, even come true.

Singular policies can change every election, simply adding to an unpredictable future.

Recently, I was asked to speak on community-connectedness at a grey-suited gathering. Listeners suggested population caps to solve the problems of growth locally.

This blinkered thinking didn’t shock me, but that it was their only solution, did. It’s important to appreciate problem-solving is a whole mindset, not a singular feat per issue.

The ability to shape our future environment was lacking.

The public consultation process on the Town Centre Masterplan also displays blinkered vision. The scope was decided and assumptions were made before the community was asked about where we even see our future centre.

Many would like to see the civic heart in Frankton, closer to the majority of the local population. We ignore the already established exodus from Queenstown’s centre by residents and businesses, by investing in a masterplan of our ‘old’ town, not our twin towns.

We’re stuck in fixed mindsets globally, locally and nationally. Old-style thinking is dead, and creates limitations, not opportunities. We have to hone in on the right questions to ask about our future. As communities, we need to share our voice at a local and national level.

I’ve been dreaming about leaders with lived experience of a ‘typical’ life; leaders motivated by creating an equitable future. The talent pool in the parties has breadth, diversity, ambition and substance, if that talent can just break through the walls of the status-quo.