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July 30, 2019 | by  | in Young Matt's Politics | [ssba]

The P word


“You’ll enjoy a conversation with anyone, as long as neither of you bring up politics,” or so they say. But what if every conversation ever was about politics? The reason they like a certain rugby team, the jokes they make—in fact, every element that has lead them to these conversations with you has been purely political.


There is “politics” in the sense that your aunty votes for a different political party than your grandma. I get it, it’s a bit ugly, but if everything else that is talked about is political, why not be open to discuss why you did or didn’t vote for The Opportunities Party last election? 


At its core, politics is how power is distributed, so there is politics in everything and everything is political. 


My first conscious interaction with politics, outside of what you would traditionally consider politics, was being the youngest in a family of three boys. You win some and you lose some; the sibling pecking order leads to its own form of lobbying. You need to find ways of being heard and understood. Same goes for my brothers—our parents were sometimes less strict on me, sometimes stricter. It was circumstantial and we each tried to battle for our own voice to be heard.


Whether in families, school boards, local bodies, or political parties, those who control decision-making influence the outcome. Politics is everywhere. The politics of the household is why your older (or younger) siblings get a say over takeaways on a Friday night. And if you don’t identify with this, then congratulations, you were the one with the power.


The fact that politics is a part of our lives at all times is why we should care. It affects you in every which way:

The reason a box of Long Whites costs roughly $25, depending on where you shop. 

The reason why half the readers of this magazine didn’t have to pay for their first year of university (Thank you Jacinda). 

The reason that your bus to uni costs a different rate and also why it’s late sometimes. 


All of these are because, at some point, someone higher up in the power chain made the decision for higher taxes on alcohol, to fully subsidise your first year of university, or even plan which contract the Wellington City Council would take for their buses.


Enroll to vote. Vote with awareness—there are a lot of places to be educated, including on the internet and in Salient magazine.  Local government elections are coming up this year, with many options. They’re going to be the people that impact every single day of your life over the next three years. Next year, you can have your say to sort out the nation’s politics, too.


Acknowledge the politics in your everyday life, look at how it affects you and the others around you. Care, to make sure the system cares about you. Whether you actively participate in politics or not is a choice. Either way, politics aren’t going away and will always be a part of your life.



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