Waiheke Loves Democracy

With all the dirt coming to light in National politics, I thought I’d share this good news story from Waiheke.

It’s election season again, and as has become a tradition here, billboards are regularly ‘adjusted’. Whether it’s motivated by a dislike for a particular party, or just drunken vandalism, when a billboard is damaged it needs to be repaired or replaced, and consumes time and money from local political party organisations.

As the organiser of the billboards for the Green party for this years election, it falls to me to respond to reports of damage to our signs.

I love this island, and one example of why was when I received a phone call from a National Party member who saw one of our signs being attacked with a knife. He stepped out onto the street in his dressing gown, yelled out to the vandal about the virtues of free speech and democracy, and then called the police once he went back inside.

It happened again two weeks later, this time there were three people, and this brave democrat even had one of them cross the road and get up close, so that he could see his face.

On both these occasions, this brave man put himself in a potentially vulnerable position, defending the right of a party other than his to display electoral advertising.

This commitment to free speech and democracy is commendable.

This is how the vast majority of people feel on this island, of every political hue. We may not always agree on things, but we respect the freedom that our democratic system affords us.

** Post script. I must also point out that when I first put the billboard up, two other National Party supporters helped me get it straight on the frame, and then when I had to come and make repairs the second time, our hero lent me a hammer.



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