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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lean Pickings 


Why this election is a painful one.

On Saturday week I vote in my 9th election (plus a by-election) and I have absolutely no idea where my party vote is headed. This is unique; normally I make my mind up about a year out and then stick my head in the sand.

But this time the choices are just so unappealing. Just when I think a particular party might possibly be semi-credible Cullen gets smug and prissy, Lockwood Smith reminds me he’s still in Parliament, I actually listen to what Rodney is saying or I catch a glimpse of Peter Dunne’s latest pet raccoon on his head.

So let's start with the minor parties, since they gave us a performance on TV last night which had all the freshness of Miami Vice re-runs.

Jim Anderton’s Jim Anderton Party

OK, that’s probably not the real name of the party, but we all know it should be. Time’s 1974 Politician of the Year is clearly popular in Wigram which in itself is enough to disqualify him from being taken seriously. The comically large glasses finish that off.

Why doesn’t he formally bury the hatchet with Clark or Cullen or whoever else he fell out with and rejoin Labour??? And the Cult of The Individual is a blight on most of the minor parties.

Which brings me to Winston Peters’ Winston First Party

Everything vile in politics summed up in one person.

I’ll miss the dark humour he brings to the House but not enough to hope he doesn’t get shoved out to a litigious retirement.

The Greens

Jeanette, I know the environment’s a bit of a worry but why do you always look as if you’re crying the whole time? In 1999 you were fresh and had integrity.

You still have integrity, but on the 4th time around you look as limp as those horrible vegetables you lot likes to eat. You’ve also got Keith Locke in your team, and although he is unintentionally hilarious, I wouldn’t want him anywhere near a cabinet table.


I have actually given you guys some thought. As a way for voting for a change without voting National.

But why bring back some 79 year-old who first entered parliament in 1966 as your star turn at #3 on The List? Seems a little out of touch to me. And remember, I don’t like the minor party Cult of the Individual.

Maori Party

Everyone’s current darling.

Pita Sharples is probably my favourite current politician. He certainly passes the Would you want to have a beer with this man? test.

But let's remember the rest of it. They were formed as a result of a hissy-fit around the perfectly reasonable Seabed and Foreshore bill, they are racially based; one of the few in the world.

And Derek Fox.

United Future

Bless him, and his theatrical hairstyles and his mock pompous outrage. And bless his sanctimonious Christian hangers-on. And bless his huntin-shootin-fishin followers too.

Because no-one else will.

When United was formed in the mid-1990s it was a good idea. MMP needs a coherent centrist party, and this was the obvious antidote to Winston’s popularism. It was formed by a combination of National and Labour MPs who, while not riveting were slightly above the average. But then the good ones missed out on re-election, and the party decided it needed not one, but 2 lunatic fringes to survive. And then there’s the hair.

Anyway, he looks pretty impotent without his friend The Worm.

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I'm kermit frogging again this election.
3 more years of funny stuff from Keith Locke?
Nice kick-off LB.

Jim Anderton's Progressives. At least Jim is honest enough to clearly state his party is all about him. It would be a loss of face to formally unite the two parties, and Jim can't abandon his party to return to Labour. But they have clearly buried the hatchet. Jim has led a couple of the Labour campaign's attacks and policy statements and done a better job than most Labour MPs. He's an effective Minister, and a sincere politician. This may be his last term, and therefore curtains for his party.

Winston Peters. Nothing can give him the late boost now to get over 5%, and Tauranga is surely well lost? Winston can go to hell. His presence on the political stage has gotten in the way of the development of a genuine and sustainable centre party.

The Greens. Yeah, Jeanette is tired. She may not be fresh but neither is she wilted. There's one good term left in her yet. And surely Keith Locke is a small price to pay for an environmentalist presence in Parliament? In these times (existing order failing) an alternative ideology such as the greens espouse is more attractive to many. (The late rush to the left in the USA is clearly linked to the 'financial crisis'). They'll do well, hopefully well enough to take a strong bargaining position post election.

ACT. I know there's an appealing simplicity and elegance to their economic policies, but shit ain't really like that and the horse bolted on that ideology years ago, with the crows coming home to roost right now.
Rodney gets kudos for the "bullshit on stilts" line. He's a great attack-dog and an entertaining MP. But ACT are not as libertarian as they once were and have an unhelpful reactionary attitude to law and order. Hide's seat may be the most important electorate in this election.

Maori Party: This umpteenth iteration of a Maori-interests party has the best prospects of them all of establishing itself permanently on the political stage. They are on track for 5-7 seats and a convenient (for the centre-left) overhang of MPs in the house that may prove a last minute kick in the balls to National. If the Maori party defy the post-election hui consensus - which will overwhelmingly seek a governing relationship with Labour - they will go the same way as New Zealand First's Maori seat MPs did after the National-NZ First coalition. And that would be a shame.

Peter Dunne and United Future. Like Anderton he is an effective collaborator, but having options on either side of the political spectrum makes him plain old slutty. He's a dork with strange hairstyles, but Wellington's northern suburbanites will keep him secure for ever and a day. His is not a critical seat.

The only minor party in the running for my vote is the Greens.
"But ACT are not as libertarian as they once were and have an unhelpful reactionary attitude to law and order"

Couldn't agree more. And that annoys me no end.

Strangely, I'd be far more comfortable voting ACT circa 1996 than any incarnation of the Nats.

But the Law and Order (complete with the mishspellingz) makes them also untickable.

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