On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

Alliance Party blog

Posts Tagged ‘Forum

The Star Chamber

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The Star Chamber used to be a kind of kangaroo court in the traditional, family values good old days that conservatives look back fondly on.

Fortunately, in Dunedin our Star is the community newspaper and our Chamber is the worthy local business fraternity, and together they were kind enough to put on an election forum last night at the Town Hall’s Glenroy Auditorium – probably the biggest of the campaign for Dunedin.

The night was well organized and well attended with a solid media contingent. Coverage included local TV Channel 9 who ran this story tonight.

The forum featured representatives from most parties. However, some notable exceptions. The sitting MP for Dunedin North Pete Hodgson and the Labour candidate for Dunedin South Clare Curran were not in attendance. Barring illness or personal emergency, why would the two leading candidates for Dunedin not bother to show for such a major forum?

According to ACT candidate Hilary Calvert it’s because they can take their seats for granted. Not that I am in the habit of agreeing with Hilary, but I’ve yet to hear a good explanation of their absence. (Update: Well, obviously my blog is being read by someone, because Clare came up to me last night and told me she had been at a Pacific Island community event, so there.) Labour list MP David Parker stood in for both of them.

Neither the Peter Dunne Fan Club, the Winston Peters Fan Club, nor the Jim Anderton Fan Club could find anyone who could be bothered to speak on their behalf, unlike my own party the Alliance which had both our North Dunedin and South Dunedin candidates in attendance – despite the fact we are outside Parliament and lack all the resources of these so-called “parliamentary” parties.

However, we did get some special guest appearances for the night.

The outstanding candidate for the night was once again Robert Wansink of Restore All Things In Christ. This is a candidate who must be seen and heard to be believed.

Robert reached fame during the 2005 election where his eyebrow raising presentation at the same forum was noted on my blog, picked up by Kiwiblog, and apparently even made it to the New Zealand Herald.

At the 2005 forum, Robert boldly claimed that the other candidates were representatives of the AntiChrist, which did not disturb a card carrying atheist such as myself, but caused some interesting facial expressions on the candidate for the Destiny Party.

This time round, I made a point of seeking him out before the meeting. I hoped our previous religious debate had not soured things and was pleased to find Robert in good form. He noted that he had seen my blog and I had got one thing wrong – he had been quoting Aristotle not Plato.

I discovered that Robert is a fundamentalist (my word) Roman Catholic. Apparently some popes are in, some popes are out. He is trained in mathematics and exclusively attends Latin Mass. Anyway, once the evening got underway, I was bemused by the fact Robert was actually making quite a bit of sense. He made a joke about the usury of insurance companies, which went down well, and discussed ways of making retirement savings more secure. What had happened? I was beginning to worry that Robert had lost his way amongst the temporal realm.

Not to worry. Robert made my night with his elegantly righteous response to a question on climate change. According to Robert, climate change is nothing new. Climate change has already occurred in the Great Flood with forty days and forty nights of rain, and when Sodom and Gomorrah had burned under fire from the heavens. This was the first explanation of climate change as a Godly phenomenon I had come across.

The crowd went wild.

Apart from that, everything seem pale in comparison. David Parker yelled a bit at the end but I can’t remember what about. Dunedin South National candidate Conway Powell got his policies wrong and was corrected by a smiling Dunedin North National candidate Mike Woodhouse.

After the long suffering Conway got beaten down the National Party list by new boy Mike, it must be even more galling for him to be corrected in front of a hooting crowd. Conway was all over the place tonight as he tried to give what sounded suspiciously like a left wing Keynesian analysis of the National Party’s new finance programme.

Mike Woodhouse managed a trademark smooth recovery from someone in the crowd reading out his embarrassing quote from the Critic magazine.

The independent for Dunedin South David Bernhardt is a sincere tryer who subscribed to policies which seemed to be the closest thing to the old DLP in Australia. The Democrats for Social Credit had a solid candidate in Dawn McIntosh who gave a good old fashioned presentation. My fellow Alliance candidate Kay Murray fired up for the occasion as well.

I hope to post some video footage later on.

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Written by Victor

October 21, 2008 at 8:38 am

Posted in Post

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