Random Play by Graham Reid

Alternative Nation*8: The vision thing

Political commentators have been surprised at the sudden rise of the newly-formed Auckland-based separatist party which is now polling higher than New Zealand First.

Proponents of the Auckland Region Separate Economic Zone -- which argues the city should secede from New Zealand and become an independent nation -- have found strong support in Auckland, but more surprisingly from the rest of the country.

“It would seem the provinces are so sick of Auckland’s problems they’d rather see them go it alone,” says David Colgate of the polling organisation Colgate-Brumbie.

“Many of those questioned in the South Island added unpublishable comments about Aucklanders.”

Results from the Colgate-Brumbie poll show the new party at 9 percent, above New Zealand First (seven percent), the Greens (six percent), and that party Jim Anderton leads but no one knows the name of is on about two or three percent. Or something pathetic like that.

The sudden rise of the separatist movement raises the possibility it could hold the balance of power after the election. This would allow it a strong negotating position to wrestle concessions for the region out of central government before it goes it alone.

“We prefer to think of it as a balance of self-interest,” said party founder and leader, Auckland importer Michael Tucker yesterday. “Auckland is the powerhouse of the New Zealand economy, we have some of the most highly qualified taxi drivers in the world, and of course are home to major attractions like Kelly Tarlton’s and the Geisha Girl House on K Rd.

“So it is inevitable we be more self-determining, especially since we have been so ill-served by central government.

“We’ve had an MP designated to look after Auckland issues, and a fat lot of good that has done us.

“The prime minister lives in the city but you still can’t drive along Dominion Rd near where she has a house because the roads are clogged. If she’d been the King of Tonga that little problem would have been sorted out pretty damn quick, I can tell you.

“Basically central government has done bugger all for us so we might as well go it alone. We’ll take Che Fu, the rest of the country can have Michael Barrymore.”

Among the party’s proposals is that Auckland residents be issued with a special ID card and a voucher for three flat whites, redeemable at cafes in Parnell, Ponsonby and Hunter’s Corner. Immigration by other New Zealanders will be strictly monitored and Mr Tucker said in the first year he expects a net migration loss which will allow the city’s infrastructure to be improved.

“We are proposing a levy on incoming passengers from other centres around what is currently known as New Zealand -- excluding returning Aucklanders -- and expect that revenue can be channelled directly into roading and infrastructure. There will be no need for tolled roads under this scheme.

“And we have an innovative policy which we see as a win-win for the new nation and its former provinces. For a long time we’ve been hearing from people in the more rural provinces that wankers from Aucklanders need to get out and see how real New Zealanders live. We agree.

“So rather than sentencing criminals -- particularly violent offenders and white collar wankers -- into periods of expensive incarceration in the city we are going to offer them a one way ticket to the destination of their choice -- Bluff, Westport, Tauranga and the like -- plus $500 spending money.

“We expect this innovation will be a much needed and very welcome cash injection for some of the smaller towns. They‘ll doubtless be getting in touch very soon to thank the ARSEZ up this way.”

*see Alternative Nation5. By the way, the last posting was not a column by Joanne Black of the Listener but a parody of one. Apologies to those who wrote believing it was the real thing. Worrying though how easily we can be fooled, huh?