Heather dPA: National election promises carnival of fun

as published by Stuff

To political geeks, national elections promise carnivals of fun. We scrutinise them like sports fans obsessing ahead of a major tournament. We rattle off the stats of elections gone by, compare trends, rank the players according to their skills and weaknesses.

This election is shaping up to be the most boring in a while. Andrew Little is boring. Bill English is boring. James Shaw is boring. Peter Dunne is boring.

After the debacle in 2014, aren’t we due something a little more sedate?   I, for one, am happy not to be at the centre of a lot of it.  I’m sitting this one out.   I think.   Nicky?  Am I?  

After 150 years of dominating our Parliaments, white men in politics are very unfashionable. This year’s crop of white men are doing nothing to help that.

The exception to the rule is David Seymour, but that’s largely because of his gymnastic face and pretend faux pas – you didn’t think “The French love the coq” was an accident, did you?

Even Winston Peters is predictable in his political opportunism. New Zealand’s so predictable in its appetite for him.

The past week deepened my ennui. Labour had a Big Announcement and so predictably mucked it up.

It’s election year so parties generally use the annual party conference to announce something a bit jazzy. That something should be bold enough to flick the switch on the way we think of the party, and it’s especially important when we’re not thinking good things about the party.

But then it turned out Labour’s Big Announcement, which was aimed at helping young Kiwis into affordable homes, would unfortunately probably ping mums and dads who own a rental.

In all fairness to Labour, they probably only had phone polled the policy the week before.  It would just be broad-brush.  They would get a committee on it.  A cross faction expert panel.  Something.  Whatever it takes not to have to reveal they haven’t thought it through in the few weeks they’ve worked on it.

We don’t even have the political streaker of Nicky Hager to attract our attention while the game is on. For once Hager’s done the responsible thing by releasing his book outside the campaign period.

Responsible?  Madam, you are kidding…  It was John Key’s sudden departure that moved up the publication date.   And boy, what a lot of civilian casualties did that book cause!

Gareth Morgan is our last chance of entertainment, but thus far he has only managed to attract ridicule for some pretty good policy ideas and further ridicule for his inability to be interviewed without resorting to shouting.

He’s too good at attracting ridicule. No one’s listening now.

It is possible that out of nothing else to talk about, we may find ourselves discussing the merits of parties’ policies this year.

I’m pinning my hopes on the fact the politicians will rise to the challenge with decent policies.


Then prepare to be disappointed.



– Heather du Plessis-Allan, NZ Herald

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