yesterday i went to ngaruawahia for a function to support hon nanaia mahuta and jacinda ardern, the labour candidate for the new waikato electorate. i had the chance to hear some young kiwi musicians, one a 6th former who performed his own songs accompanied by guitar and the other a group of 5 from the whairmarama youth complex who also had a couple of original songs. it was wonderful to see this talent from our young people and to see their confidence.
i tend to get sick of the focus on youth as a problem, when i see so many inspirational young people around me. wouldn't it be so nice if we could celebrate them more consistently and vocally, so that they can be raised in a society of loving of support rather than one that points fingers and looks down on them? in today's waikato times, there is a bunch of letters from kids at st andrews middle school, objecting to a previous correspondent who called all children "toe-rags". good on the kids for fighting back.
from there i went to a hallowe'en party at a hamilton west park. there were heaps of people there, and most noticeably, the crowd was mostly brown. lots of maori and pacific islanders, plenty of activities and people having fun. i pretty much agree with anna's views on halloween, in that it's a highly commercialised imported tradition that really doesn't add much to our society. on the other hand, i've never refused to give out sweets when kids come to my door, nor do i stop my kids from going out. i guess i just don't feel strongly enough about it to put my foot down, there being other much bigger battles that i want to save my energy for.
today, i went to a buddhist kathina ceremony, for a short while. it's always nice to get a flavour of different experiences, and watching the colourful monks and the devotion of the crowd was quite interesting. they were a really friendly and welcoming bunch too.
after that, it was back to some old style campaigning. there were still people to put on the roll, and still plenty of undecided voters. hamilton west is looking to be a very close campaign, but i definitely believe it's winnable. there was a fair chunk of labour support out there, and martin gallagher is a great local MP who works hard for his constituents.
an interesting piece appeared in the times today, which i can't find on the stuff website. it's about dairy owners in nelson who have found that business has dropped simply because they have a labour party hoarding out on the roof of their shop:
A Labour-voting dairy owner claims he's the target of a "blinkered and ridiculous" strike against a Labour billboard which graces the roof of his Nelson store.
Ruby Bay Store owner Kester Macfarlane claims National and ACT's "Rogernomic roosters" were those avoiding shopping at the dairy while the billboard featuring a smiling Helen Clark was on its roof.
"I bet your bottom dollar we (Labour supporters) are in a minority here in our Ruby Bay pocket."
Mr Macfarlane and his wife Carol Comie least the store to Neville Nisbett and his wife Ruth, and have decided to take the billboard down so the business would not lose trade.
so much for political freedom. apparently it's ok to punish people financially for their political affiliations. this kind of story is not isolated. i've been hearing of accounts from the campaign trail in some small towns, where people are genuinely afraid to declare they are labour supporters, for fear of repercussions. in a country that prides itself on values of freedom and democracy, this kind of thing is appalling.