Jeanette’s appeal to overseas voters

According to Statistics New Zealand’s Sustainable Development and Population team there are up to 600,000 New Zealanders living overseas, most of them in Aussie (where Rayna Fahey just held her Green Party campaign launch last night). 

Not all of them are eligible to vote, but presumably a significant proportion are.  Last election there were 28,000 overseas votes. This time overseas voters are showing significantly more interest in the election, with almost 47,800 people enrolled to vote with an overseas postal address – that’s up 35% from last election’s 35,650 enrolled overseas voters.

So, here’s Jeanette’s thoughts on why those people need to get on the roll and vote.

42 Comments Posted

  1. When is the election?

    No doubt the ‘other’ election has been dominating the New Zealand media. The recent election in Cambodia, that is.

    Not only could you not vote from Overseas, but you have to go back to the village you are registered in to vote. For most people, that is the village of their birth.

    Could have made for some good parties, but drinking was banned during the voting period. So much for an armed society being a polite society.

    Most people got a holiday – including the garment factory workers. So check those labels – Made in Cambodia is good.

  2. “..I am very pleased to say that I was one of the overseas voters that helped get the Greens over the 5% in 1999 :-)..”

    thanks for that jingyang.. was the o/s votes..and the cannabis reform votes..

    ..that did it..


  3. Stephen

    If there are votes in it and you live within 60 miles (who cares about the carbon foot print) then I will make up the numbers myself.

  4. Well big bro you will have my party vote, and even my candidate vote if your local big bro can encourage the public to join my club because as we well know it’s hard to play a full season of cricket when you have to call half a dozen friends to make up the numbers

  5. Stephen

    A fair and reasonable question, well one of them has ruled himself out of contention and is at this very moment chasing an England cap whilst plying his trade on the county circuit as a Kolpac player (you need a European passport).
    The other I was a huge fan of (simply because of his basic technique given that most of our batsmen are seriously lacking technique wise) but he has had his last chance as far as I am concerned.

    You might also be interested to learn that immediately I am elected I will fire Bracewell, I am not going to have him hanging around to inflict further damage on the side until his contract is at an end.
    Vettori will be demoted as Test captain and Fleming will be reinstated in that role.

    Iain Butler will not be allowed within 100 miles of another NZ cricket team.

  6. Considering that National like to claim that these people have all gone overseas to escape ‘Helengrad’ and ‘the nanny state’ and stuff, John Key is presumably counting on all these people voting National.

  7. I’d have to know what your policy is on banning the Marshall twins from ever wearing a certain coloured cap again big bro

  8. “Not because it is best, just because it is like Europe and therefore sounds good in their minds.”

    No consideration of the policy(s) at all, they just do it cos it’s familiar? Makes them sound on the stupid side.

  9. StephenR:
    I never said anyone was stupid, I was pointing out an influence that would affect how they considered environmental issues. No-one lives in a bubble, everyone is influenced by many things.
    Good point Frog, I didn’t consider those living in Australia.

  10. You can’t vote from overseas if you haven’t been home in the last 3 years. So the criticism that if you’re not around you shouldn’t get a say does apply. But I fail to see how you should automatically lose one of your main citizenship rights just ’cause you pop overseas for a bit. Surely we want to encourage citizens to get experience in the big wide world AND participate in our relatively healthy democracy.

    Most countries in THE WORLD give their expats a right to vote. In fact, Australians have to, no matter how long they’ve been away as they have compulsory voting and they get fined if they don’t (fascists).

  11. Mr Dennis –

    Furthermore many are living in Europe…

    No, as the article I linked to suggests, a significant majority are living in Australia.

  12. Regarding NZers who are “long-term” residents overseas, there is in fact a restriction that one can only vote if one has actually been in NZ sometime in the last three years. Within this restriction, any CITIZEN can vote —there is nothing about “taxpayers” only – (NZ is a democracy, not a republic).

    When I lived overseas, I was still a NZ citizen, and like any other, was entitled to vote.

    In addition, while I myself may have been overseas, my family, friends, bank, some investment etc were still in NZ. I always knew I would return and that I would therefore have an interest in the future of NZ.

    Now, as for voting Green from overseas, while there may be an element of for some of “the European socialist influence” as some right-winger posters here would like to pretend, for me it a different reason:

    Living abroad made it very clear to me just how much of NZ’s “clean green” image is bullshit (by a simple compare and contrast with the practices in Japan and Taiwan and Hong Kong, where I lived), and on the other side of the same coin just how valuable that false image was to NZ in marketing and selling our products overseas.

    It is quite to me that a country and a people can only get so far with such a false image, and that sooner or later it will come back to bite us on the bum. That is why I voted Green.

    I am very pleased to say that I was one of the overseas voters that helped get the Greens over the 5% in 1999 🙂

  13. As a Kiwi who spent most of his life overseas, I have a lot of time for Big Bro’s position on this one. If you are not a participating member of the society, you really shouldn’t be voting on the issues of said society.

  14. Mr Dennis,

    People might vote for tougher welfare rules and employment bargaining law – this won’t affect them either, but they could feel pretty good for doing so. You could find similar issues for EVERY party.

    You seem to assume those people in the second paragraph are just plain stupid.

  15. Many of these overseas voters end up voting Green (much as I dislike this well done the Greens targeting this overlooked demographic). In my personal opinion this is because they like the idea of having a nice eco-friendly sounding home to come back to even if they have no intention of actually living here. They don’t have to live with the consequences of this vote, bans on smacking, lightbulbs and all the rest.

    Furthermore many are living in Europe – where socialist environmental solutions are the norm. This is what they are used to. Then if they are actually considering environmental policy and they compare the policies back here, they will relate more closely to Green policy. Not because it is best, just because it is like Europe and therefore sounds good in their minds.

  16. Aristophanes and Toad

    If those caregivers or that parent (interesting that you chose to use the sexist term “mothers” instead of the gender neutral title “caregiver” or parent when you want to dramatize your argument) derive their income SOLELY from the DPB then no they should not have the right to vote.

    I suspect that Emily Pankhurst would be a damn sight harsher on those woman who CHOSE to bludge from the rest of us by way of the DPB than I am.

  17. BB, by you’re reasoning, at-home parents shouldn’t be entitled to vote either, because they are choosing to stay home and look after their kids rather than contribute to the tax pool. Given that the vast majority of them are women, wouldn’t it be easier just to deny women the vote, rather than have all these complex categories?

  18. big bro you is kerazy? – not like the frog, like the lunatic

    I mean: you are advocating removing suffrage from people who don’t pay income tax on employment earnings (we all pay GST after all, and ex-pat kiwis with savings here might pay some form of income tax, if they own property they will pay tax, and so on)

    Quote: “I did not feel I had a right to have my say given I was not contributing one cent to the county by way of tax.”

    so what about mothers who stay home and don’t work – do they not get to vote either? Is Emily Panckhurst spinning in her grave?

    Or are you only seeking to disenfranchise those people unlucky enough to be on the DPB or UB?

  19. Frog

    When you boil any election campaign down to its bare bones it ends up being a contest between people or groups who are competing for the right to spend your/my money.

    Therefore if you are not contributing to the total tax pool then you have no right at all to have a say in how that money is spent.

  20. Stephen

    Perhaps I should clarify my point, all those who are working overseas on a short term contract should be able to vote, however all those who have no intention of returning (Owen Glen) or are planning to be away long term have no right IMHO.

    During my six years in the UK I never voted in the NZ elections as I did not feel I had a right to have my say given I was not contributing one cent to the county by way of tax.

    Incidentally that is the same reason I am of the opinion that beneficiaries (pensioners and genuine sickness and invalid beneficiaries aside) should not have the right to vote.

  21. Phil U

    are you a script writer – that would make a great video! Maybe Russel Norman should do one like that?

  22. “Why should anybody living overseas be allowed to vote?”

    It’s normal for democracies to permit voting from people overseas or out of town – and to disagree about exactly who gets to vote. If all of “us” get to vote then there’s a fuzzy confusing line over who is and isn’t “one of us”.

    A kiwi overseas is still a kiwi. When I was a grad student in the USA we weren’t residents there (as their pushy immigration service continually reminded us). I remained a New Zealander, with just as much interest and stake as you in NZ’s future – and my special vote helped decided who was going to tax me how much on my return.

    Of course at some point they may stop being a Kiwi, really. But it’s hard to think of simple enforceable rules that would identify “still really a Kiwi” from “not really a Kiwi any more”. My guess is that “can’t be bothered sorting out a special vote coz it’s a hassle” may be a good practical measure…

  23. good grief..!

    that reeks of having been written/pummelled by a committee..!

    (could you have shoe-horned more cliches/platitudes in there..?)

    how about..

    Hi..!..hello from me..and from the green party of aotearoa..

    if you don’t know who i name is jeanette fitzsimon..

    ..and i am a co-leader of the greens..

    ..i’ve got an important..and urgent..message for any new zealanders resident overseas..

    ..we have an election coming up..

    ..and going on current polling..the centre-right national party is leading..

    ..and could well be the government..

    ..just one of the many national party policies that should alarm anyone with a green heart.. a pledge to ‘roll-back’ the legslation that has done..and does..

    ..the most to protect our environment..

    ..the resources managment act…

    the national party wants to ‘speed up development’..

    ..the green party currently has six mp’s..

    ..we need more..

    .. to give the green voice the power to effect the changes we all know we need.. eligible..could you please enrol to vote..?

    ..and help us to achieve these aims..

    ..i have two more requests of you..

    ..could you please network this message as much as possible.. other ‘green’ new zealanders..out there in the kiwi diaspora..(smiles)

    ..and anyway you can help us down here.. get the green vote out..

    ..y’ the aunties..!..(smile again..)

    ..this would also be appreciated..and effective..

    thank you very much for your time..

    ..and your energies..

    ..see you when you get back..”


    (voice-over gives how-to-register info..and green party contact details)



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