Club Politique by Che Tibby

Generation Me

I had an interesting email the other day where someone asked me advice on how to vote. Naturally I can’t give advice on who to vote for, but it was obvious the person wanted to see Peters out of Tauranga, and needed the details of MMP explained.

Now, a good old tar, feathering and subsequent slap on the arse with the Key to the City is probably out of the question, and would probably drag Tauranga back to the wild west it once was. But it would be a laugh to watch from a safe distance. The hot air escaping from Peters’ rapidly deflating ego would cause a scene like that bit of the Lord of the Rings where Sauron buys it.

The emailer in question was wondering how to get rid of Peters when they were a Labour supporter, and realised that the local commie pinko just wasn’t likely to get the votes up. Sorry Sally, nothing personal, but I just can’t see the red team winning in a true blue heartland like that.

What I’d do if I lived in a place like Tauranga, touch wood, is split my vote strategically. There’s no reason why you have to give both your party and candidate vote to the same colour. And although you might not want to tell your chardonnay sipping chums that you actually split your vote, they’re unlikely to call you some kind of bastard half-caste once you mop up their spluttered canapés and explain your reasons.

How this works is that you give your candidate to the blue team, and your party vote to the red team. Simple. Shameful. But simple. And then it’s bye bye Whinny while helping the commies get back into power.

And I hear from people back home that Clarkson is a top bloke. One who might actually do something for his electorate, as my blue-voting family like to point out.

Mind you, all this local politics stuff seems very far away from Wellington, and what with Winston at No.1 on the NZ First party list we’re unlikely to get rid of him entirely, unless by some miracle they drop below 5%. So to the good folk in Tauranga, we’ll take that politician off your hands, and here, have one who you might find useful.

And on the subject of politicians, my, isn’t Wellington full of them. I know that’s stating the obvious, but when you can’t step outside your door without bumping into one of the buggers it’s tough to be a completely objective blogger. I saw John Carter campaigning with the Baloney Bus the other day and was a little taken aback.

It was Upper Hutt. My first thought when he tried to stop me and a mate on the street was to ask if he still liked to pretend he was Māori. And to ask it very, very loudly. There were a few hoodies in the Maccas who might have been interested in that one.

On the other hand though, it’s not too bad having all these well-paid pollies and public servants gadding about the place. Way back in the day Wellington was a seriously bleak place, and you can guarantee it’s not entrepreneurs of some variety that are spending their money in the huge number of brightly lit bars and cafes around the central city. Auckland? Absolutely. But here it’s the government that keeps this city alive.

Cuts in public spending would likely cut into that particular bit of trickle-down, in my humble opinion. Of course, we’re not talking about mass sackings of public serfs, but hiring is likely to freeze, which will in turn slow economic growth here in the city (slightly).

The converse of that argument would of course be that many of the public serfdom are on salaries right smack bang in the middle of the tax argument target range. So it's likely that even if hiring freezes, there will still be more money around. And if chuck the hugely increased numbers of contractors hired on inflated wages to cover for the lack of staff in the Ministries...

A figure I heard bandied around about increased salaries is that 80% of the money is likely to be spent (not saved). Take out the 12.5% that disappears in tax revenue, and you’re still looking at a substantial amount of money being splashed about.

So it’s kind of win-win for the bar tenders either way really. For former expats like me who only came home because of the employment bubble though it’s all bad. Unless of course they buy a bar or café.

But who the hell wants to be a servant to servants?