The first general election I voted in was in 1996. I've voted in every one since then, seldom for the same people twice, and mindful that democracy is a privilege, will be voting again next week.
But while the ability to vote is a precious one, gee the weeks leading up to an election can make it hard to appreciate.
Things annoying me about this election in particular:
-"Vote for me/us" billboards everywhere.
-Vandalising of said billboards by people who think they are being funny or making a point. Really they are doing neither; they are just being a dick. When such vandalism is by a well organised activist element of a political party it is even more dickish (and disappointing too), endorsed by the party itself or not. Covering up someone else's free speech with your own is not free speech.
-Media manufactured scandals that distract from the real issues, and give anyone not involved the chance to display hypocritically righteous faux outrage, all the while being grateful it wasn't them being recorded.
-People on social media and other public forums saying "I'm voting for X because I love NZ/democracy/kittens etc" or "If you vote for X you hate NZ/democracy/kittens etc". I don't care who you vote for, just as who I vote for is none of your business.
-The idea that a giant walking ego in a suit might for the third time have the power as an individual to determine the make-up of the next government. Winston Peters is a one-man indictment of the flaws of MMP voting.
-The fact that while I like some policy elements of most parties, they all have policies I don't like enough to make me not want to vote for them, meaning I don't feel particularly represented, and thus cynical about the whole thing. Also while I might not be a particular fan of the incumbents, the opposition don't exactly fill me with confidence either (NZ politics has been lacking in genuinely inspiring individuals and policy for a couple of decades now).
Hopefully I will have made my mind up by next week.