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Thanking people

  • November 10th, 2008

An election campaign is all consuming. The objectives, the competition and the gamble energise like nothing else.

They inspire candidates and people of passionate politics.
Others are compelled to join in by anxieties for their country or anger about intolerable trends.
But the greater part of the campaign load is borne by people out of duty, friendship or loyalty.
Often they get in touch to offer encouragement, thinking they can make it tangible with a small donation, or with a little bit of time. But a campaign is a whirlpool, and they’re caught. They accept more and more load until they’re carrying completely unreasonable burdens.
That selfless help drives the candidate to the end. To keep faith with the sacrifices others are making, the afternoons they’re giving up, the money they’ve donated, the demonstration they’ve joined when they’ve never done anything so undignified before, the candidate must get up a bit earlier, and walk a bit further.
Of course it is not only the candidate who is encouraged by reciprocal obligation. In my case Cathy was the core of my campaign. I could not have done a fraction of it without her.  She feels a huge sense of loyalty and gratitude to those who came to help.
Candidate energy is reinforced by the lasagna left at the front door, the friend who arrived one afternoon a week to update lists and print thank you letters, the work colleagues whose politics are  unknown who ask to deliver pamphlets, the nieces and nephews who turn out to wave placards despite the embarassment of being seen by others from their schools, the friends who drop in cheques despite politics I know differ from mine.
These things carry you through the muck-ups, deliberately blank stares, the half heard passing insults, the spit on the car, the tasks not done, the lies about you that will never be corrected.
They also carry you through the times when our puppy ate a box of National Party rosettes, when the police had to push our bright gold VW through the Courtenay Place intersection when it broke down, when Cathy had to fetch Rugby League guys out of a meeting to push the car up Molesworth Street,  when I was thinking so hard about the issues at meetings that I forgot to ask for votes and when my voice disappeared just when I was about to make phone calls to the whole electorate. 
There were many times when I thought of things I’d rather be doing – big things like mountain biking with friends or little ones like sleeping. This has been all consuming.
Now I think of how to thank all those who did all the things that make a campaign, knowing it is a gamble right to the end. I’m grateful to the voters who gave my volunteers the seesaw results over Saturday night. We had times of jubilation for Wellington Central as well as disappointment.
And I’m grateful too that our local disappointment is moderated for my volunteers by the celebration of winning the Party Vote for National in Wellington Central, but most of all by a nationwide victory.
To my volunteers – thank you, thank you, thank you.


  • Manolo
  • November 10th, 2008
  • 9:13 am

Dear Stephen,

I congratulate you on a spirited campaign, despite of the negative result.

How can you explain that voters in Wellington Central, with one of NZ’s highest levels of education and income, keep electing a Labour MP?

Do all Victoria University professors and academics live in this single electorate? The mind boggles.

  • Peter Salmon
  • November 10th, 2008
  • 11:46 am


my wife and I are very sorry that you did not get in

best wishes

  • JamJars
  • November 10th, 2008
  • 4:13 pm

Hey Stephen,
Stoked you didn’t get in. Hard luck boyo!


Stephen it is simply wrong that our new parliament will not have you as a member.

You ran an honest campaign against some of the toughest, most organised and unscrupulous tactics of this election.

You are talented as both a lawyer and a politician and I know you will have every success in whatever you do going forward. Do not throw in the towel on another stab at politics as New Zealand needs you. If you can stomach it, though I have no idea how you can stand it, keep trying!

  • Bob Green
  • November 12th, 2008
  • 10:33 am

The voters of Wellington Central have spoken and we must respect the view of the majority …

  • Allison
  • November 14th, 2008
  • 10:37 pm

I love it that even at the end, the left tries to destabilize a post of genuine thanks to many selfless volunteers for their own petty point scoring game.

To all those who volunteered, you gave an amazing effort.

Stephen, all the best for whatever future endeavors arise.

  • JamJars
  • November 15th, 2008
  • 6:08 pm

“Biggest Loser Award: Stephen Franks …(left ACT to join National in order to re-enter Parliament and lost; but would have been back on the ACT list)”

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