The New Plymouth chairman of ACT, Morris Hey, has challenged the glorious Donkey to honour a deal and pull the National candidate for Epsom from the "race" for that seat, in order to let the ACT candidate, the oily John Banks, win - and thereby deliver 5 more seats for a Right Wing coalition.
This is, of course, not only deeply distasteful and cynical - it is about as anti-democratic as you can possibly get.
Not being entirely naive, I do understand that this kind of scurrilous deal-making has been a part of our political and electoral landscape since our second MMP election - hence my headline. But we do come back to a plain and basic truth that my old Granny taught me when I was a wee tacker: the fact that everyone does a thing doesn't make that thing right. To take Paul Goldsmith from the Epsom ballot in order to manipulate the result will be to take choice from the Epsom voters. There are undoubtedly a number (yes, 3 is a number) of Epsom voters who don't want Banks to be their local representative to Parliament, but who can also not bring themselves to vote Labour, Green, Mana, Maori, or (heaven forbid) United Ennui. If Goldsmith is removed from the ballot these people will be disenfranchised. Yes, Goldsmith will probably get to Parliament anyway, because he's high on National's list - but that is beside the point.
Meanwhile, Labour's campaign has, in many ways, proven the wisdom and courage of the decision to keep the Labour billboards local, and keep Phil Goof's (typo intentional) face off the posters. I don't actually believe billboard campaigns make much difference. You can't say anything of lasting value on them. To condense a heavyweight policy down to a five word slogan does nothing to inform anyone - although I'd be happy to be disabused. Perhaps they are very effective on voters who can't read, and who get their political news off a once-daily 2 minute news broadcast on The Rock or Hauraki.
I am getting depressed by Goof, though. I think the man is intellectually honest, but I'd like to see some real outrage in the face of the constant stream of half-truths and evasions from Jonkey and his band of lickspittles. Yes, he called the PM a liar. No equivation: he told the Jonkey to his face that he was a liar. He got a wet and warm Jonkey Donkey smile in response. I swear I could hear Women Of A Certain Age from as far afield as Gore going "Aaaaaw, isn't he lovely?" as they clutched their heaving bosoms. Goof has got to stand up in the debates and show where and how National has deceived us all over the past three years. He has got to let loose the dogs of war and show us how National is so far in bed with the Corporations that they can take it all orifices and still keep a smile going.
Labour's policy of extending the superannuation qualification age is right on the button. I do wonder why they couldn't have introduced it three years ago, though - oh, wait: it was politically dangerous. Well, Labour was toast three years ago, they're toast now, so where's the difference?
The Greens are going to be Labour's saviours. unlike the other parties (all of them) Green are at least honest. They call a spade a bloody spade. They're revealed the only somewhat revolutionary policy idea
so far - that of having a publicly owned organisation set up for people to invest their Kiwisavers through. It has the potential of saving up to 50% of all fees, giving ordinary NZers up to an extra $150,000 in their bank accounts at the end of their working lives. Mind you - even with the Greens, Labour won't get in. Notunless Goof actually does stand up and actually start shouting. Stop being so bloody nice, Phil!
National, of course, will hate Green's idea: anything that takes money out of their corporate masters' pockets and puts it into the hands of the workers will be seen as a Bad Idea, and consigned to the depths.
With a lovely smile, of course, as Jonkey Donkey 'splains that it's undemercritic, and that the markets must set the levels, and oh, pshaw.
Reading: I'm on a Len Deighton spree. Reading Hook, with Line, and Sinker waiting. But i also have the latest bernard Cornwell arrived from the Book Depository! What's a man to do?
Listening to: The Windy City Strugglers, "Snow On The Desert Road'. marvellous.