A new Instagram account holds our representatives to account on one issue: the manner in which they spread their Marmite on toast. The Spinoff talks to its anonymous founder.
Move over oil, there’s a new black gold this election. Party policy is one thing, but your local electorate MP is someone who represents you on a more personal level. They argue on your behalf, and you need to know how well-fuelled they are to do it.
Enter Instagram account @toomuchmarmite, which sends messages to politicians asking how thickly they spread Marmite on toast.
Its name implies there is such thing as too much Marmite, but its anonymous founder told the Spinoff the username is better read as a question. He couldn’t delete an account, so decided to use it for research. “The most recent picture I had on my phone was a photo of my flatmate’s excessive (in my opinion) Marmite spread,” he said. “I then added and messaged a whole bunch of politicians spontaneously to work out whether my flatmate was being too liberal with his Marmite.”
It’s turned into an experiment in how liberally politicians respond to totally trivial questions. “[It’s] giving them an opportunity to show us who they are,” he said. “And then also moderately taking the piss out of them.”
A model health response is that of Ginny Andersen, list MP and Labour’s candidate for Hutt South. “Big Marmite fan,” she said. “Loaded with vitamin B.” She’d spread it all the way to the corners.
Andersen’s not just a fan of the product; she’s also cognisant of its nutritional properties. This is no casual consumer. Marmite is part of Andersen’s balanced diet, and what more can a community ask for than for its representative to have her brain firing on all neurons?
He likes it spread thick, and spare no butter. Supporting New Zealand’s dairy industry is as vital as supporting our body’s B12 levels. This man gets maximum joy from his life, and we’d expect him to fight for the same for all his constituents.
Act’s David Seymour, representative for Epsom, showcases some cultural nous with minimalist poetry in the vein of Rupi Kaur:
“Heya/Far too much/Thanks” contains the emotion of a Romantic-era letter in five words. A brotherly greeting, a confession, hedonism, gratitude. He’s aware of his indulgence, but unrepentant. He is a man of value and principle, although those values and principles may not be overwhelmingly popular according to his party’s level of representation in parliament.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has a response best in line with the founder’s own.
“Very thin layer,” she said. “Finally someone who gets it,” said the image’s caption. “There’s a reason frugality and conservation are synonymous.”
The founder said the most jarring piece of information he’s discovered is that the vast majority of MPs surveyed are heavy spreaders. “That’s quite strange considering I suspect it’s a minority position,” he said. “I don’t know if that means anything, really. In fact, I doubt it does. However, it might be the only real piece of information the page generates.”
His dream Marmite interview is with Brian and Hannah Tamaki. “Maybe Shane Jones or Winston Peters. Jacinda is also up there, obviously, but I think I’d be most satisfied with a response from the Tamakis.”
Is this page partisan? @toomuchmarmite is not a swing voter, but in one post he reveals himself: “Vote Vision NZ”.