22 Sep 2017

How to spend your election night: A guide

11:15 am on 22 September 2017

It's all been leading up to this. So how will you spend the final hours of decision 2017?


After a long, rough, and occasionally exciting few months of bickering, scandals, weird adverts and cringeworthy twitter feuds, the moment of judgement is finally, nearly upon us.

So how will you spend it?

The possibilities are numerous and you don’t want to get it wrong. It’s another three years until you can over-identify with political parties to this extent again, and by then you’ll probably be bobbing around on an iceberg somewhere in the rapidly rising Pacific Ocean.

So have fun, be merry and don’t get too excited: It will probably all be a huge fizzer where everything’s too close to call and we have to wait weeks while Winston Peters holds the country hostage.



You’ve come this far, why not go for some nice traditional ~engagement~? The last election’s coverage was gold: #bantz between Tova O’Brien and Winston Peters, Hillary Barry drunkenly playing golf, Patrick Gower considering the possibilities of eating off the floor - and that was just TV3.

After months of growing ever more smug and self-important, the New Zealand news media use election night to simultaneously blow off some steam and make a last-ditch attempt to convince the public of the significance of their role in democracy. The result? A fun few hours of terrestrial television to have on in the background while you drink heavily*, exchange pensive glances with your cat and refresh twitter to see if your clever tweet has gone viral.

And just think, this year you even have the irresistible option of watching John Campbell himself presenting RNZ’s election coverage on the telly, Facebook, Youtube or the RNZ website! What more could you want?


Alternatively, there is no real reason you should feel obliged to make this entire night about the election. We’ve had months of having to constantly hear about all this stuff and you want more?

The votes have been cast. There’s nothing these phonies can pretend to tell you anymore, and with the marvellous invention that is the internet, there is no need for an intermediary to filter information you will just see on Facebook at some stage. Do you even have a TV? Put on your pyjamas, pop on some apolitical pop music, stream something funny and cross your fingers that tomorrow you will wake up to a marginally better world.


You might want company on election night and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, what better time to ruminate on the plurality of the human condition? Go to the pub, get a “brew” and spend a few hours pressing the flesh, so to speak.

Don’t just go where you always go though - escape the hivemind, head to the burbs and find out what real new zullanders are actually thinking. You might make a friend! You might make an enemy! You might learn something about yourself.


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Photo: Unknown

Not ready to hear out the hoi polloi before the results roll in? Social selectivity is at your very fingertips and can be achieved in the privacy of your own home! Invite a group of your most like-minded friends and make most of the bubble before it bursts.

Get some supermarket samosas. Cobble together some Kiwi onion dip. Put up the string lights you got at Typo that time. If you feel ambitious make a politics-themed punch and pressure your guests into drinking it. Shake your heads together at the thought of those with whom you do not agree. Once the election results have been announced tell everyone you’ve run out of toilet paper and send them home.


For the trolls, know-it-alls and daredevils among us, the above options may seem laughably tame. After all this is your time to shine!

Fear not. Any and all situations can be turned into an opportunity for you to demonstrate your penchant for provocation with aplomb.

You know you’re the smartest. Elections are the time to make that apparent. Election night is the crescendo of your campaign of intellectual superiority and you cannot let it go to waste. In the mood for company? Wear a controversial t-shirt. Interrupt people loudly. Make your thoughts on controversial issues crystal clear. Staying in? Use the internet as it was intended: taunting, goading and antagonising those you disagree with.

You may not make friends but you will MAKE YOURSELF HEARD. And after all - isn’t that what democracy is all about? 

*drink sensibly.