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Door-knocking stories

  • October 19th, 2008

Door to door canvassing has daily highlights as well as some lower moments.

A delightful woman welcomed my appearance at her door in Karori yesterday with "How nice to have you here, Mr Franks.  The last politician who took the trouble was Hugh Templeton. It must be fifteen years ago, when he was the MP".

I did not point out that it was 24 years since he was the Member for Karori (1975 to 1984).  But I could tell her that it could have been the Hon Hugh Templeton knocking on her door again, because  he was out with us for National (and me) yesterday in Karori.

I can scarcely think of a more genuine honour than to have a former Minister so active. Five former Ministers give practical help, but Hugh’s canvassing was still unexpected. I hesitate even to notify the former MPs on my helper list  when the team is gathering because I feel they have more than paid their dues in earlier years of service.

We had the honour of  two former MPs on the job again at the same time yesterday, as Lt Col Rob Munro was also with us. He served as MP for  Invercargill for 6 years. The Invercargill electorate was next to the seat of Awarua, which Hugh represented before taking the Karori seat.

A funny lower moment involved a polite and pleasant man trying to speak with us at the door loud enough to drown a shrew at the back of the house clearly screeching "is that the National Party? Tell them to f…. off", but not so loud as to be heard by the shrew. The shrew seemed to know what was happening. As she got more shrill he talked more quickly then gave up and apologised with profuse begging in mime to us to let him close the door.

Last weekend I enjoyed the quick thinking of the household that managed silently to get a ‘post it’ note on the door between the time I came through the gate, and got up the path to the verandah. The note read – "if this is about politics – please go away".

Those reactions are the exceptions. Most people are courteous or warm. I find door-knocking generally reassuring about the decency of Wellington people. They thank me for calling and wish me luck even when they declare themselves from a different political tribe. Lower income areas are often more fun to canvas and much more warm than the high income areas.



  • Tom
  • October 22nd, 2008
  • 9:27 am

The shrew comment was unkind — there are plenty of well-founded reasons why people are vocal against National — but I have to give it to you for going door knocking. It shows you’re putting some effort into getting noticed, at the very least. I’ve never had a candidate for anything knock on my door and I’d welcome the chance to speak to an MP from any party (even the truly messed up ones like those religious fringe things).

Maybe next election…

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