Comment 13915

By tono-bungay (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 02:29:28

Well, we voted not to have MMP and we didn't get it. In this small way democracy works. Your friend from Italy might fill you in: twice, over 80% of Italians voted to get rid of proportional representation, but Italian political parties decided to keep it anyway. New Zealanders also voted to change their electoral system but parties didn't do it.

I've worked on both municipal and provincial campaigns and people are complacent. It you donate money to a campaign, you get most of it back. You donation is multiplied by a factor of 3 or 4. Convince a hundred people to donate the cost of a tank of gas toward the campaign of a councillor and your group has given that candidate more than all the developers can legally give. Get a hundred people to volunteer and the candidate will have a bigger team than all the opponents. Any candidate that can get a hundred people to back them is immune to external pressures and is an almost guaranteed winner. It's a tragedy that even though this type of solid support from 1% of the population is enough, that hardly ever happens.

And then when an issue comes up, don't just send letters, ask for an appointment with your MP and prepare a well-reasoned, simple, factual set of arguments of the type that would convince your aunt. Get to know their core values and appeal to them.

I have had reasonable adult conversations with local members of parliament and ministers, which influenced their votes and became laws. I never made any 3-digit donations, but being a volunteer with community organizations and speaking to MPS and councillors with respect gets you a lot more attention from politicians than a $1000 cheque.

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