In the lead-up to the election on September 23, we’re profiling some of our widespread international volunteers and asking them to share why they’re voting Green in 2017. Today, meet Penny – a Kiwi living in Germany.
I left Aotearoa in 2008 and I’ve been in Munich since 2011. I’m married to a German and have two half-German children. I’m a full time mama and a part-time student.
I still miss home fiercely, and one of the times that’s strongest is at election time. And it’s never felt worse than the last few weeks.
I care deeply about the future of our amazing country. Every day I read the news and I see stories of people living in cars, rivers so dirty they can’t be swum in and people struggling to get by, let alone thrive. There is a deep division in our society, exacerbated by years of neoliberal policies. Neoliberalism teaches people to care about themselves and get by while ignoring those struggling because, hey, at least you’re doing better than that person down the road eh? This government doesn’t seem to care. What happened to he tangata, he tangata he tangata? It is the people, the people, the people.
In public discourse, blame is shifted onto those already doing it hard. It has gendered and racialised aspects as well as those around class. Metiria Turei shone a light on this problem. And I know damn well I would do the same thing if it meant I could look after my child. It makes me furious and incredibly sad that it was necessary. I feel like we’re standing at a tipping point – more of the same oppressive policies, or a new way. Metiria has opened the conversation, so let’s discuss these important issues at the heart of our society.
I’m voting Green from Munich this election, like I have since 2002, because I desperately want us to step away from this tipping point and embrace a new direction. Let’s turn away from the “Me First” and the “Gimme Gimme” attitude that has become so common, and instead start taking care of what really matters – our people and our environment.
Let’s make our economy work for our people, rather than blindly following the market. Let’s really honour Te Tiriti, rather than trying to draw a line under it. Let’s get out of traffic jams and into modern public transport and onto bikes! I converted to biking when I moved to Germany and haven’t looked back. Let’s look at the long term of where we want to go, rather than what we can cram through in a three-year electoral cycle. Let’s be brave enough to speak truth to power and ask ourselves hard questions about who we want to be.
My reasons for voting Green have changed subtly every election. You can read about why I voted Green in 2014. It’s clear to me that my resolve is much stronger, and more visceral this time. I’ve learned a lot over the last three years, about myself and what privileges I have been afforded to me in life. While I think that’s made me (at least a bit) more careful and less blustery, it’s also made me mad. Mad for those who haven’t been as lucky as I was, and even madder still that the structures and institutions of our society entrench and normalise privilege, while simultaneously denying it exists.
I’m voting Green! I really hope you will too.