On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

Alliance Party blog

Posts Tagged ‘Baptist

Baptism of Tea and Biscuits

with 3 comments

Saturday night was the three-yearly election forum at the North East Valley Baptist Church hosted by Steve O’Connor, who must be the only left leaning Baptist minister in existence.

The crowd was smaller than anticipated but moderately lively. 

Hilary Calvert (ACT) seemed subdued tonight. Perhaps given the church setting,  distant memories of the Sermon on the Mount were dulling her Gordon Gekko instincts. 

She nearly made it through to the end without inciting a riot in the crowd with some outrageous comment, but still managed to create a flummox in her closing statement. She just can’t seem to resist goading the crowd.

Hilary provided the most obscure metaphor with a longwinded Ukrainian fable about a beggar demanding kopecks from a rich man. We’ll give her a point for managing to introduce the word “kopeck” into a 2008 political debate in New Zealand.

Pete Hodgson (Labour) has to my relief returned to his usual crabby form after appearing unsettlingly relaxed at earlier forums. Perhaps the resurgent Labour campaign makes him think he still has a chance so he is back into it.

Usual dry monotone, however he started to bite back when he got some flak about free trade deals. Pete then informed the audience that my suit was “made in China” so somehow this meant I was not allowed to criticize free trade.

A quick check showed my suit was actually made in New Zealand, which forced Pete to retreat to a fallback position that the “material was made in China.”

Pete tried the age old canard that somehow being against “free trade” means than you are against “trade” full stop. Obvious nonsense but it shows how desperate Labour are to cover their smelly tracks on this one.

Then the old gag that if you somehow have a product made overseas in your pocket, say a biro, this automatically means you can’t disagree with free trade.

The level of debate is so low that it leaves you wondering. Perhaps the evaporation of New Zealand manufacturing is haunting the conscience of the “workers government” under their deregulated policies.

Really I think this free trade tack is the most pathetic example of the corruption of the Labour Party.

Pete started along the lines of how we couldn’t pick and choose between who we traded with – things have obviously gone downhill since the days when Labour Government’s took stands against apartheid and nuclear weapons.

Why don’t they just say, we’re in the free trade deal because profits are more important to us than our liberal moral principles. At least they’d be honest.

Pete was reduced to a dumb silence when Hilary Calvert (ACT) and Mike Woodhouse (National) both agreed with his free trade policy. 

I hope all our Labour Party loving liberals out there take that one on board. As far as free trade goes, National, ACT and Labour are all in the one big group hug.

Two points for Pete for returning to his old form.

Mike Woodhouse (National)

Mike seems to have dropped the Michael these days, so Mike it is. Mike is extremely good at sensing which way the wind is blowing and adjusting his speech and overall vibe for maximum agreeableness. He kept on going on about the National “crusade” in education which I thought was an interesting choice of words for the venue.

The question being, where are the National supporters? Considering we’re being told that there is going to be a Tory landslide, why are no National supporters coming along to back their man?

I’ll tell you where they are. They’re at home, looking forward to their big fat tax cuts. They have no interest in politics, except what it can do for them. Individualists, they have no time for community forums. The old time National Party with its conservative but community based structure is dead and gone. 

Two points for Mike for having to sit through two months of jeering crowds to win his cozy list seat (here is a man who won’t be supporting a return to first past the post!)

Metiria Turei (Green)

Metiria was on good form tonight, she seems to have given up on the mild mannered consensus approach and was in full attack mode on all three right wing candidates at various stages. 

Not sure how this fits into the Green’s principles of colloborative community conciliation, but it makes for a much more entertaining evening.

Following my recent highlighting of a lack of financial specifics on Green initiatives, I now have Greens sidling up to me after meetings to explain how they are trying to speed up the release of the Green tax policy. I am looking forward to this, but encourage the Greens to hurry up as the election day is 8 November. We should leave the non-announcement of policy to the National Party.

Seven points for getting stuck in, and a bonus point for Metiria who bought us all a drink when we went to the Inchbar after the forum finished.

All in all a decent night. For an alternate account of events, go to Bren’s blog.

The previous evening we had an NZEI and OMEP early childhood education meeting, the highpoints were Pete Hodgson starting to yell “Crap! Crap!” at me just before the meeting closed, and watching Mike Woodhouse’s neck slowly turn red as he faced a barrage of catcalls from the rows of middle aged schoolteachers.

Written by Victor

October 19, 2008 at 1:08 am

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