By Trevor Ammundsen
When I wrote this article, the result of the election was not known, but by the time you read it the main results will be in and we will all have a feel for the composition of the new Government. That could of course be turned on its ear if Winston and Chris Hipkins were talking porkies and make up. I pause for a brief shudder. though this outcome this is not likely. Looking back on the election, there were aspects that were quite amusing and aspects that were cringe worthy, so I thought I would put together my list of highlights and give away a few awards and a few brick bats in the hope that we can get over this and have a bit of a laugh at our politician’s expense.
Negativity Award: This must go to previous PM, Jacinda Ardern, who picked the election date to be the same day as a Rugby World Cup quarter final. She might have been worried the All Blacks would lose, and the Government would be connected to this failure. Not a very positive attitude from a Waikato girl, making her an easy winner of this award. At time of writing, I am unsure of the result of the game against Ireland, but I hope we win as it will give the new Government, (whoever wins), and the economy a positive push. (ALL BLACKS WON!!).
Best Shot in Own Foot Award: There is a standout winner for this award and that is ACT Party leader David Seymour. By presenting a professional and dignified persona, he got ACT to 18% in one poll but then decided he should personally make sure Winston did not get back into Parliament. What followed was a wasted month or so arguing with Winston and dramatically losing the earlier support he had gained, ending up with about 8% near election night. Sometimes you need to learn when to shut up.
Trier Award: A few options here but I have gone with Te Pati Maori leader Rawiri Waititi. There
was a little side discussion in the Leaders Debate where Rawiri claimed Maori were indigenous to
New Zealand and Winston, sitting beside him, said, “No we weren’t, we came from Hawaiki” (or words to that effect). A couple of “Yes we are”, “No we aren’t” statements later, and they ended up laughing together. The other try on was to claim we needed a different democracy but that didn’t get far either. We shall see how their hard work pans out on election night. They have some strong candidates.
Supreme Winner Award: This has to go to previous PM Jacinda Ardern. In 2017 she was able to form a government despite being a loser, spent about five years being empathetic but pretty useless at running the country, and then she did a runner. Brilliant timing, like John Key before her, she was not voted out by the public, something Helen Clark couldn’t achieve.
Supreme Loser Award: Chris Hipkins for having to stand in to take over Jacinda Ardern’s job. A very short career at the top. Though he has presented well in debate, this may not be enough
to topple this award.
Most History Award: An obvious winner is NZ First Leader, Winston Peters. There are not
many people who have experienced as much history as Winston. During the election he regaled us with tales of his time with Robert Muldoon, his childhood riding a horse to school, his efforts with the Wine Box, first emptying it then filling it with papers; his experiences when MMP was but a baby. On and on it went. Cabinet Meetings must be boring when he’s got hold of the rakau korero.
Could Have Done Better: A lot of contestants for this award but National Leader Chris Luxon
won my vote. He did well for a rookie getting his party’s vote over 40% in one poll but then seeing it slip to about 36%. His problem was not handling the coalition options well. If he had embraced MMP early on and simply said he will talk to anyone, his problems with Winston would have gone away. So, he is a clear winner for this award, and if we had a Worst Advisers Award, his advisers would have won that. (At going to print, I need to eat some of my words, as after four years of announcing an interest in politics, Chris will be the Prime Minister of New Zealand even though he could have done even better than he has.)
Survivors Award: Very few people like them, and as for my view I agree with very few of
their policies. Their mates often don’t want to play with them yet still the Green Party comes
back. They are true survivors, and I would have to say, consistent in their values. This may well
pay off (Election night said it did pay off).
Nation’s Quickest By-Election Award: This is a team award that goes to the bureaucrats who
decided that following the unfortunate passing of the ACT candidate for the Port Waikato, a By-
Election for the electorate is to be held sometime. In the meantime, they will scale Parliament up so there are 120 MPs on election night, and after the By-Election there will be 121, even though the likely successful candidate for the electorate will already be in Parliament on the list. The poor taxpayer loses out, spending about a million a year for an extra person that nobody needed or
wanted. (Comments in brackets put in place after Election night).