One Day Out with Green Team #5




Hutt Valley, 19 August – As part of my contribution to the Green party election campaign, I joined the Green’s Billboard Team #5. Our team was assigned to the Rimutaka Electorate – and it was an eventful day…

We began at 10am, assembling at a private residence in the Lower Hutt suburb of Woburn. Teams were assigned suburbs throughout Lower Hutt and the Rimutaka Electorate.  Vehicles were loaded with timber; corflute sheets of varying sizes; nails, and tools. The weather was cloudy, but sunny and the day continued to warm.

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But we were on limited time. The weather forecast was not brilliant for the afternoon. We would have to do as much work as possible in the limited time available.

Team number 5 headed north.

Our first stop; Waiwhetu Road in Lower Hutt, to replace a small corflute with a larger one on a private residence’s fence. Private residence’s fences are a fast, cheap, easy way to put up billboards. Usually no framing is required, just nails or staples. Five minutes and the job is done.

Then on to Upper Hutt.

The team had previously erected several billboards over the previous weeks and were well-experienced in the technique. Recent rain had softened the ground, making it easier to drive in the stakes to which legs and support-struts were attached;


Frank Macskasy The Daily Blog election 2017 - billboards - green party


(Note: not all team members were included in these images. Some did not want to be photographed, others were working on other billboard frames.)

The soft ground that made our work so easy would  prove to be problematic later on.

Several households throughout the electorate were  happy to have smaller corflutes attached to their fences;



The team moved to existing billboards, repairing damage caused by vandals in one instance – and by recent windgusts in another. At Gibbon Street, Green Party members charitably re-erected an ACT Party billboard that had been knocked over by vandals;




Support for the Green Party took an unusual turn when – at one house – I was invited to come for dinner later. (I declined the gracious offer.) It was a difficult decision; the aroma of a spicy Indian dish wafted through the open door as we sought permission from the home-owner to place a placard on her fence.

Around mid-day, a small disaster struck the team. The ground on which our vehicle had parked was softer than we had thought, and quickly became bogged down. No amount of muscle-powered pushing and other ‘tricks’ worked.

At that moment, Labour’s Rimutaka MP, Chris Hipkins and his wife and child were driving past in his trademarked red 4X4.



He slowed and leaned out his window;

“Do you guys need any help?”

We all nodded. No way were we going to turn down his offer of assistance. Besides which, there was probably a clause in the Labour-Greens Memorandum of Understanding on this kind of scenario; “each Party will help each other out in the event of getting bogged down in mud“.

Yep, it’s there. Somewhere.

After some careful towing, Chris managed to extricate our vehicle. Had the election been that day, we probably would’ve voted for him on the spot, in sheer gratitude.

Thanks, Chris! Labour-Green co-operation at it’s finest!

So on top of putting up a dozen billboards on frames and fences, Team #5 managed to engage in some inter-party co-operation; Green members re-erecting an ACT billboard, and a Labour MP coming to our rescue!

Now if only Parliament could work like that.


If we want to change the government, we have to work for it. That means going out and campaigning for Labour, the Greens, or Mana Movement. It won’t happen by itself – only People Power can do it.

We have four weeks to do it, people.





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  1. Reminds me of the atmosphere door-knocking in Tamaki for the Alliance in 1992. The atmosphere between rival activists was totally friendly and jovial.
    D J S

  2. Did door knocking in my home town on Saturday. Door knocking sounds like the most odious of campaign duties but I’ve found it a reasonably pleasant experience. People usually have more time for door knockers than they do for cold calls on the phone. You would think otherwise I’ve found that unless people are not interested at all, they tend to enjoy engaging in a discussion about the election whatever their political persuasion. Nearly all political discussion and debate in New Zealand is now down via the media. Door knocking is the one opportunity for members of political parties to do face-to-face with members of the public. I highly recommend it. Once you get over your initial nervousness it is not too bad.

  3. “Green members re-erecting an ACT billboard, and a Labour MP coming to our rescue!

    Now if only Parliament could work like that.”

    Here! here! Frank,
    On behalf of labour I drove 300 Km’s to drop two very large labour billboards off to a small town, – that only till then had National billboards up & now have labour representation too.

    Salt of the earth mate cheers.

    • Well done, mate. They can throw money at elections, but people-power and grass roots activism wins the day. That’s how the MMP movement beat Shirtcliffe’s millions thrown into his anti-MMP, pro-establishment counter-campaign.

  4. Many thanks Frank.

    Great to see Greens and Labour working together on this. A new government in the making coming up 🙂

    Party Vote Green for balance in a Labour government.

  5. Kia ora to this. This is democracy at work and a good personal account of the potential possibilities of how we can continue to make it work. (Yip, the Greens need party votes, and I will give mine to them this year).

  6. A week or two ago I saw the National candidate O’Fallon get absolutely roasted by a Metlink official for handing out fliers at Naenae station without permission to do so. Further, I was kind of taken back by how O’Fallon (who doesn’t appear to have any meaningful connection to the Rimutaka electorate) dressed down to hand out her fliers at the station as she almost looked like a bag lady. It seemed like a condescending attempt to fit in with the impoverished locals.

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