New Zealand has one of the best democracies in the world, mainly because it's boring. There are issues but they're not as life and death as other countries. We like it steady here. Which is probably why our two main parties are so similar. Take National's recent Labour budget. As the parties jam up in the middle voting becomes more about who we like on a superficial level rather than what the candidates stand for. Kiwis either vote for their side because it's always been their side or choose politicians like school kids choose friends. A gut favourability rating.
Which is why with less than a hundred days until election 2017 I have some childish political research for you. I showed my two primary school-aged sons YouTube clips of Bill English, Andrew Little, Paula Bennett, Jonathan Coleman, Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters, David Seymour and Metiria Turei. Then I asked Charlie (10) and Barry (7) how much they liked each politician. The results may or may not shock you.
- Isn't he the Prime Minister?
- Didn't he make a spaghetti pizza on facebook?
- Why did the Prime Minister make a pizza? Doesn't he have someone to do that for him?
- I would if I was Prime Minister.
- It looked yummy.
- Where did his glasses go?
- Did he lose his glasses?
- She looks like mum's cousin.
- Which one?
- Actually, I'm just thinking of her from the news.
- Mum's cousin?
- No her. Paula Bennett. Dick!.
- Hey he's the guy we found behind the house.
- He was nice.
- Dad, what was he doing behind our house?
- He's old.
- He's allowed to be. Poppy is old.
- He's thinks everything is funny.
- He's smiley.
Note: Poppy is their grandfather.
- He looks like a Dad or something.
- Duh.. he doesn't look like Dad.
- No like someone else's Dad dick. Not ours.
- He looks like the boss of all the policemen, firemen and the army.
- He talks like John Key.
- No he doesn't.
- Yes he does you weren't even listening.
- Isn't she already the Prime Minister or something?
- That's Bill English.
- With the Pizza?
- We already talked about him Idiot.
- Shut up butt cheek.
At this point, Barry punched Charlie in the side of the head and I was forced to terminate the remainder of the experiment.
So there you have it. In this groundbreaking research, all our politicians get high ratings. No one scored less than 7. But what does this mean for the 23rd of September?
Well if my two boys were the sole voters Grant Robertson would win because he got lost behind our house followed by Bill English because he made a pizza. Andrew Little would be rolled for losing his glasses. Someone would be hired to make the PM's dinner. Winston would do well because he's smiley. Jacinda would already have been prime minister at some point and Paula Bennett would be elected mum's cousin. Jonathan Coleman would get the policeman, fireman and army portfolios. David Seymour and Metiria Turei would be stricken from the ballot pre-vote after a fight.
Seems plausible. Maybe we should just cancel the election and go with that. Best democracy ever.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.