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PoliticsAugust 4, 2020

Memebers of parliament: Who knew it would cost so much to come home?


Welcome to memebers of parliament, a politics column for people who just want the memes.

This column began because for one fortnight last month there seemed to be daily breaking news involving the actions of MPs. There was so much to digest and the only solution was for me to condense it while also adding another piece of content to the pile.

All this is to say that nothing much happened last week.

Or rather, your friendly local politicians finally calmed down, had a normal week, and left me with virtually nothing to meme.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Sarah Dowie – YES

It’s graduation season for all the outgoing MPs and National’s Sarah Dowie set the bar impossibly high with her barnburner valedictory speech on Wednesday. Readers may remember Dowie’s name from the Jami-Lee Ross saga of last year. Dowie certainly hasn’t forgotten. In her speech (which was also funny?), Dowie dressed down the media for allowing themselves to be played by Ross as he set fire to himself and anyone associated with him, and candidly spoke of the toll a short career in politics had taken on her. It was a great speech and can be watched in full here.

There is no meme for this one. It was just a good speech.

Nikki Kaye – YES

Nikki Kaye has been impressive since she first entered parliament in 2008. She will be missed after the election. While valedictory speeches most often serve as a chance for MPs to thank their friends and families in the House, they also remind everyone for just a moment that the majority of politicians are regular people with regular brains. Kaye demonstrated this by saying “fuck” in her speech (or, to be more specific, “you’re not fucking going anywhere”). It’s a yes from me, and a no from my mum who will almost certainly send me an angry message after reading this.

James Shaw – YES

James Shaw laughed and it was enough. The 1 News / Colmar Brunton poll asked participants if they trusted the leaders of each party. When a reporter told Shaw that Winston Peters (sworn enemy of the Greens) was the only party leader that majority of participants said they did not trust, Shaw laughed. He didn’t smirk or chuckle or even giggle, he laughed. It was spontaneous and pure, like hearing a baby laugh for the first time. More candid guffaws from politicians, please.

William Wood – NO

Is it punching down to mock a teenager? Yes.

Is it still punching down if that teenager is trying to get into parliament? No.

Is it harsh to judge someone based on what they did when they were 14? Yes.

Should immature 14-year-olds be selected as political candidates when they’re 17 and likely still immature? No.

Jacinda Ardern – NO (don’t tell the TradeMe fan art community)

Have you ever been invited to dinner at your parents’ house – the home in which you grew up and became yourself – and then when you arrive at the front door it’s locked? And so you knock on the door of your own home, asking to be let in? And your parents crack open the door (but don’t remove the security chain) and say oh hey it’s you with so little enthusiasm that you wonder if maybe you’ve somehow come to the wrong house? But you check and no, you’re at your home, standing outside and waiting for someone to say something. And then finally your parents do. And what they say is give us $3,100. 

I’m assuming that’s how New Zealanders abroad must feel hearing the prime minister announce that those wanting to visit home will not only require a 14-day quarantine (understandable), they’ll have to pay $3,100 for it (somewhat less understandable). The funds raised from this move will be near negligible compared to the cost of the Covid-19 recovery, so it’s quite surprising that The Empathetic Leader would push so hard for it.

I feel like meme-ing one politician with the face of another is frowned upon but I had no choice

Kiri Allan – NO

Kiri Allan said the new Taylor Swift album was bad. No.

Chlöe Swarbrick – HUH?

Over the weekend, the Herald’s Simon Wilson took a break from writing birthday messages to Jacinda Ardern and wrote a story about Chlöe Swarbrick. The featured image was a portrait of Swarbrick looking sombre. Fine, good, nothing to note here. Approximately two hours later (exact timings have not been verified) the featured image was replaced with a portrait from the same photoshoot, only this time Swarbrick was grinning. I don’t know what this means but I am going to assume that Swarbrick’s team asked for the photo to be swapped out. Very reminiscent of me privately messaging my school friend asking her to untag me from a party photo on Facebook so my siblings wouldn’t see and narc on me. Except my guilty DM made more sense.

The photo swap is neither an indictment nor endorsement of Swarbrick. It simply makes you go: huh?

Keep going!