Party Games by Trevor Plumbly

ACTing up

I know I’m lucky to live in a country like NZ and shouldn’t take the Mickey out of the place, but Brits are Brits and we tend to find humour in the strangest places. We also realise that we can do stuff all to control those who control us. Outside the periodic use of the ballot box, the best form of retaliation is mockery. The political system here, if it can be called that, is MMP, if you’re politically learned you’ll understand MMP, if not it would be like trying to explain test cricket to a baseball fan, so I won’t bother. Suffice to say it’s a more complicated variation of, ‘it’s not what you know’. Currently we have seven parties in parliament, with the lowest ranked two being one man outfits, United Future and ACT. In a rare example of political logic they’re referred to as ‘the minor parties’. 

Private parties

ACT (oxymoron 1 – you can’t act if you’ve got no power) is there by virtue of National’s largesse in not putting a viable candidate against it. In return for this, the party sentences its member to lapdog status, with the occasional bone tossed by allowing the poor fish a couple of suck-up queries at question time.

United Future (oxymoron 2 – how can you be united when there’s only one of you)? Their member fares a little better round the trough, he gets to be an ‘Associate Minister’, but the end product is much the same as any backbencher, toe the line and vote as instructed. Occasionally though, they shine and this week one almost did, well it was more of a flicker really, but worth a comment or two.

Pass the parcel

The Rugby World Cup is due to be held in the UK shortly, but tragically for the faithful, due to the time difference, our laws don’t allow bars to open during the sacred hours of play. The ACT chappie saw this as an opportunity to shine and proposed moving a bill to amend the law to allow the faithful to prop up the bar at 4-00 am. This was promptly shot down by the Greens, who I presume thought if there was any spare shining around why shouldn’t they have it? Just as all seemed lost, our worthy Prime Minister stepped in to rescue this noble cause by introducing a government bill allowing the loyal fans to slurp the turps and scream at the telly immediately prior to daybreak. we-want-beer


What started as a one man show soon escalated into a frenzy of inanity. The police were castigated by the hotel industry for trying to introduce any form of restriction and the Greens were labelled as ‘party poopers’ by the Prime Minister. This attempt to lend sobriety to the debate failed but was instantly followed by a barrage of equally loonie suggestions to avert this potential disaster.

After a short period and a full parliamentary sitting, the bill of course was passed. We do have Sky TV and there is of course delayed coverage, which makes me wonder how many breakfast boozers will be blundering around in the early hours to avail themselves of this hard won right. It is a great comfort to me to know that those running the country aren’t scared to face up to the important issues facing us. In closing I’m not anti-sport, or even anti-booze, but I resent stupid waste, especially when it involves publicly funded parliamentary time, unnecessary legislation and pointless politics. Silly hats anyone?

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