Nervously putting up underdog hoardings in blue highway of election signs
OPINION: Have I got everything I needed? I asked myself after ticking off the sledge hammer, nails, timber and chainsaw. I have to be efficient with my movements as the window may be short. I was away to put up a few election signs for a friend in broad daylight.
The "blue highway" is a name I've given State Highway 6 from Invercargill to Lumsden during the election that reflects the sheer volume of National signs along with the absence of any other coloured signs.
Should I be doing this late in the evening with only the dim glow of my head torch on economy? Too late, composing myself I had my sights on a 10 minute construction window for each hoarding. Any longer and I feared the worst like maybe some "good ole boys" cruising slowly past on the back of a Ford Ranger all grasping axe handles.
What was I worried about? I managed to get my three non-National signs up without incident.
For those who are still reading this column, it's all a bit of fun. I like to support the underdog it's just the way I'm put together. I also have an opinion on politics that isn't defined by the colour of one's sign and more the character of the candidate.
While most in the electorate are proud of having one of the safest National seats in the country we do struggle for attention precisely for the above reason. I'm yet to see any ministerial limousines in Gore or Winton which makes sense. After all, why spend time and resource on low population electorates which are safe bets?
Politics for me is about local representation, clear and simple. What's better that one Member of Parliament? That would be two MPs from Clutha-Southland. Get it right locally and Wellington will look after itself.
I knew if my friend could get the nod by Winston Peters his capability would be quickly realised, virtually cementing a list MP position.
Even with all the dramas surrounding National in Clutha-Southland and the effort being put in by other candidates the likelihood of the 14,000 plus vote majority being fully eroded is unrealistic. The most likely outcome on the night of September 23 will be that we have doubled the representation for Clutha-Southland. Two MPs pushing each other along and working together when called on for all the locals.
Labour under Jacinda Ardern has learnt fast. Whether it's the Jeremy Corbett template or not, surge politics at its heart is about leading with ideas and bold policies to engage non-voters. Like her or not, this has been a truly remarkable run.
Are we as farmers starting to realise that being wrapped in cotton wool shielding us from the environmental discussion, has not been to our advantage?
Our farming leaders have had their time to advance this discussion and post-election it could very well be David Parker's time to control this environmental conversation.
On a lighter note, I thought I'd finish with a quote.
The eight most dangerous words in the English language are; "I'm the government and I'm here to help"
- Peter McDonald is a Dipton sheep and beef farmer and one-time chairman of Meat Industry Excellence.