Too much news? Welcome to the only round-up you need.
Have you voted yet? Voting opened nationwide on Saturday. Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins both voted early with Ardern posting very casually on Instagram about her voting experience and Collins voting at a church complete with prayer beforehand. That about sums up both of their campaigns to date.
Meanwhile I broke my elbow on Saturday trying to skateboard as a grown adult. Should’ve been voting instead (due to the broken elbow my flatmate is typing this up and made that joke). But politics and memes wait for no man and no Mad so on we march.
Auckland (minus the North Shore) is finally free
Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that Aucklanders had behaved so well (despite a huge drop in Covid tracking sign-ins and mask wearing) the Big City would be joining the rest of the country at level one come Wednesday, 11:59pm. The move is unsurprising given election day is fast approaching (“oohhh cynical” – my flatmate). Unfortunately for the very same Aucklanders, their movements are still restricted thanks to the harbour bridge being even more broken than my elbow. Level one = one lane open on the bridge (this joke also courtesy of my flatmate).
On a serious note, my heartfelt condolences to the residents of West Auckland whose roads have been crowded by their North Shore neighbours for the past week. Where’s John Tamihere’s 18-lane bridge when you need it?
Jacinda Ardern smoked weed once and doesn’t want to talk about it
During the Newshub leader debate last Wednesday, the prime minister finally admitted to smoking weed at some point in her life. Previously Ardern has acted coy when asked the question usually replying, “I was a Mormon and then I wasn’t,” which honestly could mean literally anything. But on Wednesday she gave the green (wink) crowd a tiny nugget (wink wink) with her admission yet still refused to say which way she would vote. Particularly unhelpful given the current pessimism about the prospects for a yes vote but very helpful for Ardern’s relatability rating.
The race for Auckland Central tightens
On Sunday Q+A and Colmar Brunton released the latest Auckland Central polling which showed Helen White’s lead cut down significantly with Emma Mellow polling at 30, Chloe Swarbrick at 26 and White at 35. White has struggled this campaign to set herself apart and didn’t help things by suggesting that Swarbrick stand down so as not to split the left vote. Sometimes when I see someone younger than me being very impressive I too take them aside and ask them to please stand down. Maybe Helen White is just like us after all.
Judith Collins loves to talk about ethnicities
Judith Collins had a whopper two hour interview on Mike Hosking’s morning show on Monday. Many topics were discussed. Many bad sentences were uttered by Collins. Some highlights include “I have particular beef with Auckland Transport” (she doesn’t like the cycle lanes in her electorate) and “the problem with secondary schools now is there’s too much photography and too much media and all those woke subjects”. The previous day, a very funny photo of Collins praying before casting her election vote had appeared online. I can only presume that the photo was taken by Jesus Christ himself and not someone who studied the Art of Woke at secondary school.
My favourite moment was when Hosking asked Collins about 90 day trials (which allow employers to fire employees without cause in their first 90 days of employment aka a trial period) and Collins expressed her support thusly: “they give businesses confidence to give people a go, when … maybe there’s something with that person, maybe there’s something in their background, maybe they’re not quite qualified enough, maybe they’re not that experienced, maybe they don’t know them that well. Maybe they’re a different ethnicity, you know this is about actually giving people a chance.”
Next time you see me owning myself online please remember that I’m a different ethnicity and actually give me a chance.
Annoying political answers
Nothing says “election season” like politicians refusing to answer a question in the manner in which it was asked. During Wednesday’s debate, MC Paddy Gower (official title) asked both leaders if they thought New Zealand’s health system was racist. Technically a yes or no question, Ardern answered by in effect repeating what Gower said about Māori health statistics and agreeing that “it’s clearly showing bias and it’s clearly not working for Māori”. But when asked if that meant yes it was racist she hedged with “no matter what you call it it’s not working and it has to be fixed”.
A frustrating answer from Ardern who seemed committed to knowing what was right but refused to speak it plainly. Collins, on the other hand, had no qualms with giving a direct answer, claiming no, she did not think the system was racist. Unfortunately, she then expanded on her answer by explaining that it wasn’t the system that was racist, it was simply individuals within the system that were racist and, according to Collins, labelling a system as racist lets individual racists off the hook. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell that means.
So what’s worse; the right idea delivered unconvincingly or the wrong idea delivered directly? Welcome to politics, baby.
Just a good thing
On Monday Labour committed to banning conversion therapy as well as making it a crime to advertise or offer the practice. Conversion therapy has been used, to this day, to attempt to change queer people’s sexuality through therapy and drugs. In short, it’s bad. It’s a bittersweet announcement; sweet because conversion therapy is a blight on New Zealand society that should be removed post haste, and it’s bitter because can you believe it took this long for any party in power to commit to banning it?
A bittersweet announcement is still welcomed during the bitterest of times. Until next week, happy early voting.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.