Opinion: Recent experiences have led me to believe that text voting would be a wonderful thing for our democracy

By David Seymour

By David Seymour


I’m David. Hello.

You might know me by now, I’m on the TV occasionally, I pour my own beer in public, and I wear shirts that are handed to me. All good then.

Well you must be wondering, what do I stand for?

Anyway, I have some thoughts about our political system I’d like to share with you.

At the last election, nearly 45% of people voted for ACT (or National). That’s actually more than the number of people that voted for Labour and the Greens combined, that voted for us (or National).

Despite winning the election, we lost.

Well now I think that’s quite silly, and I think you would agree.

This prompted me to spend the last six months or so thinking about ways to make our democracy more fair, and a series of highly non-specific recent experiences have led me to believe that the best possible thing for elections in New Zealand, moving forward, would be something called text to vote.

I’m not sure where I first got this idea, that’s anybody’s guess, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

As it stands, you can work hard, earn a living, get a promotion, stay up late adding value to our economy, buying a yacht, creating jobs for kiwi mums and dads and people who scoop plastic out of the oceans. But no matter how much you earn, no matter how much you sweat and toil, you only ever get one vote.

Just one. There are people out there who work far less hard than you, have fewer yachts, considerably less phone credit, and yet they have the same number of votes as you.

No matter how hard you work, you can’t get ahead.

Our current system of voting measures the quantity of support, but not the quality. 26 people who begrudgingly vote for Labour are worth the same as 26 people who passionately support the ACT Party.

Passion is important. I know, because I get scolded about it over and over again every Sunday and Monday night at 7pm and 7:30pm respectively.

It’s not just passion though.  It would make voting a lot more accessible, and would be likely to pick up the forgotten voters, the missing million, such as the 13-year-old libertarian high school student who texts “DAVID” to 3333 until they run out of their mother’s phone credit.

For years, we’ve been searching for a way to engage the youth, and all along, we could’ve done it for just 99c a text and standard charges may apply.

There’s another idea I came up with, something about a three person panel giving different parties scores out of ten and awarding seats based on that, but I’m still on the fence about that one.

I’ll tell you how I feel about it on Tuesday.