Former Kaipara Lifestyler journalist Ayla Miller is currently travelling in Asia, but keeping a close eye on the election campaign back home and writes in from Phibun Mangsahan, Thailand.
I have to admit during the last month and a bit my brain has been in New Zealand following the election news. Everyday there have been new campaign promises, policies, interviews, live press conferences, posed photos and opinions splashed across my newsfeed.
Some opinions have sparked heated debates between me and my friends and politics has been the topic of most recent conversations.
If there is one thing that’s finally sunk in over the last few months, it is the amount of room for improvement there is in New Zealand at the moment, despite us having a comparatively high standard of living.
There I was, desperate to get out of New Zealand and volunteer in Nepal, when there is so much work to be done in our own backyard.
Travel has definitely made me glad to call NZ home and the recent conversations have made me want to protect what we have and stop things slipping back any further. When I return I’ll endeavour to harness some of the anger that’s been stirred up and use it as motivation to actually DO something instead of just talking about it.
The more you learn about the world and the obstacles people face, naturally, the more understanding you gain. Simply being exposed to people who are different to you can change your perspective, and this is why travel can be so eye opening. At the same time I think empathy is something that doesn’t necessarily have to come from experience.
It was leading the national conversation about what kind of world we want to live in, especially after Metiria Turei announced she had lied to WINZ in order to provide for her child. Her defendant’s begged for the other camp to have some empathy.
Perhaps, because of the way our society is organised under capitalism, empathy isn’t immediately financially rewarded and therefore we are taught to see it as weakness? I’d like to think that helping people up instead of kicking them when they are down leads to closer, happier, healthier communities which results in a flourishing economy in the long run.
This conversation about what we value as a nation is so important and whilst we are on the subject I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone to vote on September 23rd.
It’s a privilege, and throwing it away is an insult to everyone in the world who wishes they could vote but can’t.