Random Play by Graham Reid

Alternative Nation*4: Search and Ignore

Assistant Commissioner of Police Bryan Duckworth confirmed yesterday that police are investigating the disappearance of a number of politicians and candidates in the run-up to the election on September 17.

Early enquires have failed to locate various members of the Act and United Future parties, and a significant number of formerly high profile National parliamentarians have also not been heard from in some weeks.

“There are increasingly grave fears with regard to the whereabouts of Gerry Brownlee, for example,” Duckworth told a media conference in the upstairs bar of the Shakespeare Tavern in Auckland yesterday.

“We are becoming concerned because he is the deputy leader of the National Party which means there is the possibility, remote I grant you, that after the election he could be deputy prime minister -- and therefore just a heartbeat away from the top job.

“That alone is cause for great concern, if you know what I mean.

“It appears that either he has chosen to go to ground for a while, or someone in the party hierarchy is hiding him until after the election for reasons which are perhaps obvious to many. We are following some positive leads at present but we are appealing to the public for any sightings.

“The same applies to a number of Act candidates. Rodney Hide has remained visible, although fading and almost ready to disappear, but others seem to have just vanished completely. And we’ve noticed that Cullen fellow seems to have fallen below the radar too. We might look into that case if anyone reports that they want to hear from him.”

Duckworth said that such disappearances were more common after an election than before, but this year there had been some unusual circumstances.

“With the attention on leaders like Clark, Brash, Peters and the sideshows from the Greens and the Maori Party it was perhaps inevitable that the foot soldiers -- like that lovely but invisible Barbara Stewart of New Zealand First -- would be ignored.

“You have to be realistic in these matters however. Consider those clowns from United Future for example. You rarely heard from any of them anyway even when the House was sitting. I mean, can you name two of them other than the bloke who leads the party, Peter someone?”

Duckworth said that while a number of uniformed and plain clothes officers had been assigned to locate the missing few dozen candidates the police would not, as yet, be committing substantial manpower to the operation.

“We are pretty stretched in trying to meet our revenue gathering role on the roads, which is our core business, and matter like missing politicians probably come somewhere after burglaries and graffiti offences in our list of priorities.

“I should point out that our role will be to find these people, and I must add strongly here that despite some very heartfelt requests from a number of citizens the police cannot, and will not, assist in making other candidates disappear.

"So despite some fairly impassioned pleas from high up in the Labour team I have to tell you we will still be hearing from Trevor Mallard.

“But as time goes on if we don’t hear from people like Judith Tizard -- who is usually pretty keen to have her name out there -- or that other bloke in Jim Anderton’s party then we might have to start taking the matter more seriously.

“But at this point there seems little public will that we locate National’s Lindsay Tisch or Paul Hutchison. Most people have never heard of them anyway.

“And of course we will certainly not be allocating staff to find anyone from that Destiny Church mob. We suspect they actually don’t want to be found so that after the election they can claim martyrdom, which is pretty big in that world of religious cults I am told.

“But our prime concern at the moment is Gerry Brownlee, although if anyone does see him we would warn that he not be approached.

“We’re not saying he is violent, but we have reason to believe members of the public should be cautious, especially if he is cornered.”

*Alternative Nation is an on-going satirical column and as such any resemblance between people living, dead or in-between (such as Act and Destiny candidates) is entirely deliberate. Many reading Alternative Nation have taken it seriously. They believe politicians could actually say and do things like those reported in Alternative Nation. That must scare you. It sure as hell scares me.