When do we get a prime minister who looks like New Zealand, asks Laura O’Connell Rapira.
I want a Māori prime minister. I want a trans Samoan deputy prime minister and I want a former refugee as speaker of the house.
I want a Muslim mayor. I want a disabled deputy mayor and a late-life lesbian who cheated on her husband as leader of the opposition.
I want a migrant who isn’t grateful. A disabled person that doesn’t care about your need for inspiration.
aN aNgRy MāOri
Not the kind that will tiko on our people for power.
But the kind that unlocks latent power in people.
I want someone that is proud to be Māori/migrant/working class/disabled/bi/Muslim/Black.
I want a solo mum for prime minister.
I want a prime minister that grew up in a house where the adults were forced to choose between a warrant of fitness and food. Someone whose asthma got worse breathing dampness and mould. Someone whose only child died sleeping in a rheumatic room painted by landlord neglect.
I want a Pākehā that’s fluent in te reo and humble about it. One that picks up a tea towel at the marae instead of botsing it with a karanga.
Someone that knows how to code-switch.
I want a prime minister that is one dental bill away from a breakdown.
Someone that’s fat and talks back and gets followed at the mall because of the colour of her skin. Someone whose name gets mispronounced and unapologetically corrected.
I want all of the white cishet male ministers to weaponise their privilege for the queer, brown and poor.
I don’t want them to be made heroes for it.
I want a prime minister who bends their gender.
I want a prime minister with a tā moko.
I want someone whose mother/brother/son/lover died by suicide. Who carries grief and understands ours.
I want the prime minister to know what it feels like to be silenced or abused by government agencies that claim to help.
I want a prime minister that can’t afford to pay the rent. Someone that buys their clothes from op shops out of necessity not trend. Someone who cleans toilets in nightclubs and gets paid under the table, and lies to WINZ, and is still on their restricted.
I want a prime minister that’s in tune with the trees and ocean. Someone that admits when they’re wrong and changes their mind in public.
I want someone that dropped acid and dropped out of economics to pursue art instead.
I want a prime minister who will give back Māori land and I want to know why that’s so fucking controversial.
I want to know why prime ministers always choose profit never Papatūānuku,
Reform never transformation,
Breaches never honour,
Why they are white and never Māori.
This piece is inspired by Zoe Leonard’s 1992 poem, ‘I want a dyke for President’.