OPINION: Who am I to attempt to tell anyone how to vote?
Earlier this year, I began The Beehive Party while on-air with RadioLIVE. Although this was totally facetious, the idea was to get people to think beyond the politics of personality and to really have a good look at party policy.
I also wanted people to think about what is really important. Is wanting to retain our clean, green image and tourism boom more important than the economic drivers that are now seeing our rural sector over farming and damaging our waterways?
Time itself is becoming a rare and highly sought-after commodity. Who has the time to sit down in a cosy spot at home with your favourite Ugg boots on and a cuppa at hand to read through party policy and manifestos? Who really wants to, either?
More and more, we collectively rely on political experts to disseminate fact from fiction and to make us more aware of the issues du jour. The fact is, these issues may not be that important to you and I. The experts who divulge the information they think we should know may also have an agenda driven by their political persuasion. It's human nature to fall towards someone that supports our way of thinking.
So here are some ways you can become a better voter.
Tip one: Do your own homework
Think of the one or two issues that really float your boat and then read each party's policies pertaining to that issue. You can then determine which party really has your best interests at heart.
Tip two: Beware the religiously habitual voter
This generally relates to parents and annoying old aunts and uncles. Why? Because they are similar to someone whose fashion sense is stuck in the '70s. What they thought was spot-on back then really isn't so now - but they are determined to stick with what they feel comfortable with. Our mainstream parties bear little resemblance to what they looked like and stood for decades ago. Where once there was clear division between left and right, you now see a bunch of sore bums with so many politicians sitting on the fence.
Tip three: Just vote
Forget the fact that Kate Sheppard was a complete legend. Forget that we were the first country in the world to secure the right for women to vote. But don't become one of those whinging half-wits that spends the next four years saying 'I told you so' when things don't go your way. Yes, there should be a box to tick that says 'I have no confidence in any party or candidate'. But there isn't. The best way to effect change, if you want it, is to vote.
I'm not trying to tell you who to vote for; rather to take the time and a really deep breath before looking at the options more closely than just through headlines and soundbites.
Roman Travers is a RadioLIVE broadcaster and the leader of The Beehive Party.