Random thoughts on ‘Election Fever’

Wella Bernado was a candidate in the 2020 New Zealand elections.



Opinion by Wella Bernardo

Who can be more controversial than celebrities? Politicians. And now that our election is over we are left to celebrate or endure – depending on which party you voted for.

As the Covid factor is still affecting our personal and economic lives I feel that the newly elected government should consider ramping up changes to alleviate the current situation.

At the end of the day what does the election really mean to migrants? Do we actually participate? Do we understand our new country’s political system?

As a migrant and candidate in the recent election, I was appalled that a lot of the migrants were not as enthusiastic about the election as we were back home.

Elections in the Philippines are a frenzied affair – for both candidates and voters. It is all hyped up and the politicians are given celebrity status and are not easily approachable as they move around with security guards 24/7.

Whereas politicians over here, unless you are the Prime Minister, are treated like normal citizens. I’ve seen former Mayor Len walking casually in the city centre.

There are also other factors to consider if we are to make comparisons about the way an election is conducted in each country – like the history, cultural norms and socio-economic classes that prevail.

The form of government is also another factor. As the Philippines was colonized by the US our electoral system is comparable to the US model. A lot of their way of doing things was ingrained into us – like the lavish campaigning, the heated personality clashes and dare I mention the corruption – both subtle and blatant.

I also believe that political parties in the Philippines spend more time grooming their candidates for the elections. They reach out to the media and the public at least a year in advance – drawing attention to all their accomplishments and their propaganda.

On the other hand there is greater transparency, accountability and hardly any corruption amongst politicians in New Zealand.

At the end of the day it comes down to each candidate’s character, integrity and the relevance of the policies they bring to the table. The voters will make the final decision about who we want to represent us in government based on everything we bother to find out about the candidates.

Editor – Wella Bernardo was a candidate in the 2020 New Zealand elections.