The following  is a letter I intend to submit to the New Zealand Herald. It is part of my little bit to get people to think about voting a in a way that can result in real change rather than just fiddling while Rome burns with promises of tax cuts and the like.

As you know Einstein once stated that you can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it. We have an election coming soon. It continues to amaze me how many people conclude they only have two options when voting—National or Labour. It’s the same all over the democratic world. In theU.S.: Republican or Democrat. InCanada: Conservative or Liberal. InEngland: Tory or Labour.

Labour is a scion of the much needed early 20th century labour union movement and has accomplished much in creating a nation of fairness and equality since it first rose to power in 1935. It is the oldest existing political party inNew Zealand. The National Party grew out of a mandate for private ownership of production, distribution and exchange. The National Party did much to create prosperity in a post-war nation once it gained power for the first time in 1949, and has consistently displayed more favour to farmers and business than the Labour Party. Each of these long-standing parties was created with noble intentions and has served New Zealanders well. But has not the economic, environmental and social predicament we are in today resulted from thinking that, no matter how well intentioned, has not moved to new and appropriate ways of seeing the world?

Our political system is fraught with problems. Its very nature encourages short term thinking and empty promises. This system and its incumbent thinking continue to embrace a global economy based on power and greed rather than people and the environment. Our current thinking has created the largest and fastest mass extinction of species in the planet’s long history, even more dramatic than whatever resulted in the demise of the dinosaur 65 million years ago. We are arguably overheating the planet while we’ve created an economy dependent on a limited and ever-diminishing resource—oil.

Isn’t it time for a change in consciousness?

The Green Party is far from perfect as it battles within an imperfect system. But it is a product of new thinking. It sprang onto the world stage in 1972 inWellington as the New Zealand Values Party. The name ‘Green Party’ came into being in 1980 in what was thenWest Germany. In March 2011 the Green Party claimed its first ever premier in a German state.

The Green Party rose from obscurity in New Zealand in 1999 when, after special votes were counted, it had obtained 5.2% of the Party vote and 7 MPs. At present the Green Party has nine MPs and is the strongest party in the country after National and Labour. The Greens are an imperfect party in an imperfect system. But, like National and Labour before them, they have arisen from the real needs of the time. A time that has come. A time that honours people and the natural world over power and greed. Which other party has co-leaders who are male and female? Which other party has co-leaders who are Maori and Pakeha? Which other party truly supports the little person? Which other party speaks for a natural world that can otherwise only speak through natural calamities and global warming?

In the coming election we can choose as our parents and our grandparents have, with the best of intentions, for National or Labour. In doing so we choose for more of the same—a global economy that exports our jobs to Asia, increases unemployment and crime, widens the gap between rich and poor and fouls the air, water and soil on which all life, including us, depends.

Isn’t it time to choose for a new consciousness and new thinking that can truly overcome the thinking that has created the serious problems our country and the world are facing today? Isn’t it time to make political choices that truly think of our children and our children’s children? Isn’t it time to choose for lasting, positive change? Isn’t it time to walk hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, man and woman, all races and all religions, to a brighter, greener more prosperous future for everyone? Isn’t it time to vote Green?

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See

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