Mark Graham – Who Cares If You Vote?

Who Cares if You Vote?


Local government elections take place in about three months time and only one third of you will vote.


Actually, since mostly old, rich, white people vote and they’re unlikely to be readers of this publication, probably almost none of you will vote.


And why should you?


Council just does its thing and what can you do about it?


In fact, everyone knows council is just a bloated bureaucracy that takes your money (via your rent if you don’t own and if you’re under 40 then chances are you don’t), wastes it on stupid things that are irrelevant to you and screw everything up that they touch anyway, so why encourage them?


Which is good, because it means the rich old white people get to vote in those politicians who will make decisions in their favour.


They’ll get what they want – carparking, more roads, no spending on bike lanes, no spending on culture and community and libraries and planting trees and cleaning up stormwater because they don’t swim at beaches or ride bikes or go to events and nor will they live long enough to need those trees.


But what do you care? Because even if you vote you won’t change anything. There’s nothing you can do, right?


And those young people who are wanting to go out and change things from the bottom up? Reclaim some of the power lost to another generation who care more for their property values than the future of the city and the planet. Hopeless. Doomed to failure because the people who do vote won’t vote for them. And you don’t vote, so why would they bother?


I have to say, I’m a bit pissed off.


I see yesterday’s politicians coming back because they think they have solutions to tomorrow’s problems. And they’re supported by people who want things to stay the same, despite changes being thrust upon them.


And the ones who should care, don’t, because who cares about footpaths and roads and drains and parks?


They blather on about rates increases by saying they’ll make things more efficient. They say they’ll hold Council and its various organisations more accountable. They say they’ll build more roads because more cars are what this city needs. And does this matter to you?


They won’t talk about the environment because they don’t really think things are changing, not really. And young people won’t vote, because they don’t care about footpaths and don’t think it’s worth learning about decisions that affect their backyards and so these major problems – these huge, really big fundamentally life-altering problems will be kicked down the path for someone else to deal with. Likely you, in five or ten or fifteen years’ time and it will cost more and be harder to fix and everything will be much worse, but you won’t need to think about things for another few years.


And your kids, should you choose to have them, will deal with the current generation’s indecision and prevarication and your generation’s abdication of responsibility, because WHO CARES ABOUT FOOTPATHS AND BUILDING CONSENTS?


Or trees? Or faeces flowing into our harbour in which we swim? Or bike lanes to keep cyclists and kids safe? Or community and cultural events?


Because rich old white people don’t ride bikes, don’t swim at beaches, don’t go to events and won’t see trees planted today help save our planet tomorrow.


You do and you will. But you won’t vote. Because who really cares?


Mark Graham is a former Olympic diver, DJs on BaseFM in his spare time, and is a long-time advocate for green policies at a local level. He’s running for a seat on the governing board of Auckland Council in the upcoming elections.