Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Your Snark is Problematic: NZ Politics and Voter Apathy

This is not a blog about David Cunliffe. It's not about Chinese businessmen, immigration letters or phone calls to police.

It's not about German multimillionaires flying MPs on amnesiac flights to mansions. It's not about Team New Zealand. It's not about the "Nasty Party", expensive jackets and powdered milk sitting on docks.

It's about apathy.

The only excuse you have for not remembering flying in one of these is if you are unconscious and being flown to hospital
It's about the white, middle-class and middle-aged complaint that "the youth" aren't interested in voting. It's the bewildered look in the eyes of politicians and journalists as they list poor voter turnout stats and wring hands about why aren't brown people, poor people, young people going to the polls. It's that faux-anger about "Well, why don't YOU run for office then?" when those who fail to vote point out that they have no voice and what is democracy without representation?

The handwringers are missing the point.

We watch the politicians as they tear phantasmic strips of trustworthiness off each other over letters that most of us would regard as junk mail. We listen to them sit dewy-eyed in the witness stands as they fail to recollect taking methods of transport most of us will never see up close, unless we become a traffic statistic somewhere picturesque. We grit our teeth as they talk about how there's "no money" to fund breakfast clubs in our poorest areas, while shrugging their shoulders as yet another thousand manufacturing jobs go to the wall. We facepalm as they talk about the economic benefits of funding a bunch of rich white guys to race a FUCKING YACHT against another group of rich white guys, whilst quibbling over the cost of making healthcare accessible to all, in a country with the highest rates of rheumatic fever in the developed world.

Cost to taxpayer: $26million

We see all this, and wonder why the hell we should bother with any of you.

You want to improve voter turnout? Be someone worth voting for.

Government grant to KidsCan for free breakfasts in D1-4 schools: $150,000
I dare you.

Stop with the grubby snarking in the House. TURN UP TO PARLIAMENT AND DO YOUR JOB. some of you have an attendance rate that would get us fired from our places of work, if we're lucky enough to have one. Look at the issues that actually matter. Do I care about some dinner some woman with a tinplate haircut attended with some chairman? Not really. I do care that every column inch dedicated to her hors-d'oeuvres is a column inch that's not asking you how you're going to ensure that every Maori boy gets an equal shot at education as the snottiest Takapuna Grammar girl. I want to see you pull your tongue out from between the cheeks of the investors who give no regard for either our tangata or our whenua (and definitely not for our tangata whenua) and instead get your hands dirty actually trying to make life better for everyone in your electorate, not just the ones who give anonymous cheques.

You can be a rich old white man and still have something worthwhile to say, if for once you stopped talking exclusively to other rich old white men.

There's fewer of them out there than you think.


  1. Pretty damn good rant - a shame none of the rich white men (they're not even that old) in our Parliament will take the slightest bit of notice...

    1. Thanks! It was either write that or drive to Helensville with a few dozen eggs...