the candidates meeting

I am delighted my child chose to come to our local “meet the candidates” meeting, in fact she didn’t want to miss it! It is our local body elections and Helena knows that her grandfather and I care… we talk about it, tell each other snippets we have read at the dinner table.

The School hall was packed with public, and there are also a lot of candidates. Each of the mayoral candidates got to speak. H knew I was very supportive of the young candidate… (why is power still mainly concentrated in “male, pale and stale”?). He was impressive: articulate, polite, introduced himself in te reo Māori, gave concrete points not waffle, mentioned some unpalatable (NIMBY) realities and was the only one to use the words “climate change”!! We had only heard good things about him from our friends who work for the council. Helena decided independently that he was the best – that he seemed kind. He makes me feel hopeful for the future.

Then they opened the floor for questions, after a few I couldn’t hold my tounge and asked, seeing we were in a school hall, how they all got to school. Of course the middle aged men biked, just like I did. I then said that you can’t let your children do that anymore because it’s not safe and made the point that to bring back balance between road uses we need more and safer bike routes as there are more and more cars that have got bigger (especially wider) faster, and the drivers less tolerant (I hope that’s the point I made). The candidate standing on bringing back balance by getting rid of bike lanes (including the one right outside the school?) told me not to vote for him! (My mother would have been so proud). An audience member in yellow jacket and red lipstick told me to “shut up”. It was by far the most confrontational part of the meeting, a political argument pushed by me in front of my daughter.

After the meeting at least 3 people thanked me for asking, all in front of my daughter. H felt I had ranted a bit, but yet was pleased that I asked. She was certainly keen to deliver election pamphlets for Rohan.

I am glad that she has seen and is interested in democracy and it’s arguements, she can see that it influences her, and has seen someone young (like her) be more than equal to being on council, and that people do echo her concern re climate change – why is it only the young can name it and factor it into everything.

I was further pleased that our current house guest, who is 30, so interesting and kind, came too. He had said he wasn’t going to vote as he didn’t know anything but he came and stayed and took notes. My lucky lucky child having such good role models.

We delivered approximately 600 leaflets to letter boxes over two days and close to 6 hours of walking and apart from the sore bodies (even our friends dog who came with us was tired) we both felt good about it, for her it was that we were helping a person she admired. I just really, really want him to be our mayor because the world he paints is better than the same old stuff over and over…

There is a quote attributed to Einstein that I heard the introductory speaker at the Inspire festival that Helena went to that is appropriate: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” We need the young, and now with the help of a brilliant web site my young person and I will talk and listen to each other and together choose who to vote for, who will impact our future…. A truly important lesson.

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