Who NZ's Americans will vote for on November 6
CHARLES ANDERSON AND ADAM DUDDING
Every four years the United States holds an election and some commentator observes choosing the leader of the world's only superpower is too important to be left to Americans.
Whether it's Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood addressing an empty chair, the Republican and Democratic conventions leading to talk of "bumps" and "momentum", or the death of the US ambassador in Libya, New Zealanders are following US politics.
The Sunday Star-Times asked a few of the 11,000 Americans who call New Zealand home who they'll be rooting for on November 6, when the US chooses between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
Bill Hodge, Auckland University
In New Zealand since 1972
An “Obama for President” poster on his door, Hodge has for the past three elections urged expats to the polls. He doesn't tell them to vote Democrat, he assumes Americans living overseas wouldn't do anything else.
What bothers him is “the emphasis on godliness - America is a god-favoured nation etc".
Back in 2000 he voted for Al Gore, figuring there wasn't much difference between him and George W Bush. But he quickly formed the view Bush was the worst president in US history, and "did more harm - economy, foreign policy, illegal invasions - than any other president”.
Hodge is registered in the left-leaning state of Oregon, where his vote won't have the impact it might in his birth state of Ohio. "But votes are never wasted. It's the democratic exercise of the most fundamental franchise you and I have.”
Julian Robertson, billionaire,
First came to New Zealand
Robertson, 80, was unavailable when the Star-Times called, but it's safe to assume he'll vote for Romney.
“I have never met a man I think is more equipped to be president than Mitt Romney," he told American TV network CBS in April, while discussing the $1.5 million donation he made to his campaign.
A former hedge-fund trader, Robertson is from North Carolina but lives in New Zealand, where he's built a chain of luxury lodges. He recently gave $115m worth of his art collection to the Auckland Art Gallery, and in 2009 was made an Honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
When CBS asked him what he expected in return for his donation, Robertson said: "I want a great president."
Jeffrey Masson, writer
and Sigmund Freud expert
In New Zealand since 2000
Masson's best friend, "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, recently sent an email to his friends telling them to vote for Obama. Masson believes Obama is the lesser of two evils and will win. "Nobody can stand Romney."
Masson grew up in California, regards himself as a socialist, and doesn't understand why Obama didn't follow through on election promises such as closing Guantanamo Bay. In New Zealand, he feels a bit like he is in "exile", watching an election with huge consequences for the world. "It bothers me so many people seem indifferent."
Tracey Barnett, columnist
In New Zealand since 2004
Barnett will be voting for Obama again. "What a relief it's been to have a steady, considered, intellect in the White House, especially during such rough waters these last four years."
She sees Romney as "wooden, uncomfortably corporate and stiff"', next to Obama.
She arrived here during what she calls "Bushaggedon II", a tough time to be an American abroad.
"Spit would fly at dinner parties during discussions of US politics."
Despite the political landscape in America being "infuriating, fascinating, and unashamedly slapstick", she loves it.
"When New Zealand can get Sam Neill to talk to a table lamp at the next political convention in this country, I'll change my spots."
Julie Anne Genter, Green MP
In New Zealand since 2006
California-raised Genter won't vote. "I have made New Zealand my home".
If she did it would most likely be for the Green Party candidate, although she'd still prefer Obama to Romney.
She says to survive challenges such as climate change and income inequality, the world needs to do things differently, but the political system isn't for that.
"Vested interests are powerful and fighting change."
Horrified by the Bush administration, Genter left the US in 2002, and feels relieved to be a citizen of a country with proportional representation.
"As much as I disagree with them on economic, social and environmental policy, the platform of the largest centre-right party isn't based on outlawing marriage equality, abolishing gun control, getting rid of a woman's right to choose, or stopping teaching evolution in schools."
- © Fairfax NZ News