it right that your mother, your sister… should be classed with criminals and lunatics… ? Is it right that while the gambler, the drunkard, and even the wife-beater has a vote, earnest, educated and refined women are denied it?… Is it right… that a mother… should be thought unworthy of a vote that is freely given to the blasphemer, the liar, the seducer, and the profligate?
Kate Sheppard – Is it right? (1892)
Kate Sheppard was a smart woman and without her leadership, NZ would not be proud to be the first country to give women the vote. Suffrage Day is a good opportunity to think about democracy and many turned out to the rally at the Bridge of Remembrance on Wednesday evening because the Education Renewal Strategy announcements felt like too much of an assault on local democracy. It seems a little frightening that we could change a few words in Kate’s quote above and still make a relevant point about how many Cantabrians are feeling about the integrity and value of the local vote.
There has been a hive of activity this past week and a lot of it has been to do with the schooling announcements. We are generally a tired people and getting too hyped about anything that isn’t about settling insurance and land claims is a big ask for many but schools need their communities at the moment. Most are organising community meetings which starts the consultation process and tries to ensure locals do have a vote in what happens in their community. Please support your school community. They were there for our communities when we needed them so lets turn up for them now when they need us most.
Brian and Leanne