We didn’t get one of those excellent “I’ve voted” stickers, but we did get to vote in a city where no one else does.
We voted at the New Zealand Consulate-General in Dubai. We stepped out of the express lift in the central city tower to be greeted by a Wahi Poti sign in orange man orange. I greeted the Indian man staffing the front counter: “Hello, we’d like to vote, please”. His New Zealand colleague, who I suspect was employed as local staff, was quite excited by the novelty of it all. Our special voting forms said OVERSEAS in gratifyingly large letters. A can of L&P, like those offered to New Zealanders voting in Canberra, really would have topped off the experience.
Look, I’m the first to admit I wasn’t overly excited about the options I had on the ballot this time round. But I will say that the pleasure of voting was enhanced by the exotic location, and it felt more meaningful because it’s a power that isn’t afforded to citizens here.
The UAE is an elected monarchy. Its head of state and head of government are elected… by the hereditary rulers of each of its seven Emirates. By convention the Sheik of Abu Dhabi is always elected as the President and the Sheik of Dubai the Prime Minister. From the highway to where we’re currently staying we can see the super yacht of the PM, moored by his private island. He seems a bit of a Kim Dotcom character. The kind that, ideally, would stay the hell out of politics.
If you’re feeling morose about the various governmental options that the New Zealand election might spit out, fear not, you do have the chance to participate in the only contest that counts on Saturday: my Great Election Sweepstakes. Enter here.