Friday, November 25, 2011

MMP on the streets

As my Twitter followers will know, for the last five weeks or so I've been helping out with the Campaign For MMP, hitting the Square and the weekend markets to raise awareness of the referendum and support for MMP.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people know about the referendum and the options, which is great no matter which system you support. Lots of people have been expressing their support, and there have only been a few negative responses (one person today told me to "piss off"; last weekend I had someone say that any system which allowed Hone Harawira to be elected was corrupt. Harawira is of course an electorate MP...) There has been a strong age divide apparent, with younger people more likely to be supportive, and older Pakeha more likely to be opposed. And there's been a lot of interest from young people, even those that can't vote (we don't care; its de facto civics education, and they can give the flyer to their parents or older friends).

Also apparent in the past two weeks has been the growing popularity of advance voting. I'd read that over 150,000 people - 5% of the electorate - have voted already. And there were an awful lot of them about today (though thinking about it, one in twenty seems about right).

(Update: And now I see its over 250,000 advance votes, which is heading for 10%. Freeing up advance voting has clearly been a success.)

We never saw anyone from the opposing "Vote For Change" campaign. Apparently they rely on money rather than volunteers, and media buys rather than signs and leaflets. This has meant that in Palmerston North, at least, we've basically been campaigning unopposed.

Today was the last day. we had sign wavers, a sign driving round on a trailer, and a bunch of people doing leaflets. We used up all the ones we had, and then went. And now, its a nervous wait until December 10, when the final results will be announced (the referendum only gets the advance voting results on election night, which might not be an accurate reflection of the electorate as a whole).

Overall, its been a very positive experience, and I recommend it. Get involved, have some fun, and help your cause. Though hopefully, I won't have to help this cause again.