Memebers of parliament: it’s the Covid election, baby

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

Let’s just get to it, shall we?

Buses – YES

Buses. They’re back. Winston Peters has had his giant face on a big ol’ bus for a while now, but he surely won’t be the only one to unveil a large campaign vehicle. In my humble opinion, buses are good for politicians. They’re bold, fun, and make people think of professional athletes arriving at a stadium, which is usually the antithesis of politicians.

The New Zealand First bus is disproportionately large for the size of the party, which makes it the perfect embodiment of New Zealand First’s presence in parliament. It certainly makes you turn your head, even just to wonder if this will be the last time a New Zealand First bus will exist.

The Act ‘bus’ – NO

This is not a bus. This is a tall van. Nothing grinds my gears more than liars but there’s something almost impressive (in a terrifying way) about people who lie when the truth is in plain sight.

David Seymour standing in front of what is clearly a van and announcing the unveiling of his campaign “bus” is gaslighting on a national scale and I almost have to respect it. It reminds me of my favourite TV blooper of all time. Look. At. That. Bus.

The Act ‘genderless humanoid doll’ – YES

Nothing to say about Act’s election mascot except that the phrase “genderless humanoid doll” is somehow the most poetic and perfect sequence of words to come out of 2020.

Gerry Brownlee (Guy Montgomery) – YES

For three glorious days, comedian Guy Montgomery changed his Twitter display name to Gerry Brownlee and shared some thoughts as the deputy leader of the National party. Montgomery’s short stint (he’s now changed his name back) as Brownlee is the exception that proves the rule that all parody accounts are bad.

Let this be a timely reminder to all aspiring online comedians who yearn for the extremely short-lived glory of a one-note parody account: don’t do it. It’s not worth it and everyone will turn on you. Montgomery has started and finished the one acceptable parody account of the 2020 election. Please, just let it be.

Gerry Brownlee (Gerry Brownlee) – NO

The real Gerry Brownlee was equally busy ejaculating nonsense last week. And if you think using the word “ejaculating” is gross, go read some old books and see how often it appears as a synonym for outburst (a lot but yes it’s still gross, sorry).

Dr Ashley Bloomfield warned New Zealand that a second wave of Covid-19 was not a matter of if, but when. The announcement was disheartening but given the recent second outbreaks in Hong Kong, Victoria, and Vietnam, it wasn’t exactly surprising. Except to Brownlee, who issued a statement questioning Bloomfield’s motives. “It doesn’t add up. Why announce this now when there are few cases?” Brownlee asked, with the innocence of a baby wondering where its parent has gone during a game of peek-a-boo.

“What do these guys know that they are not telling us?” Whatever it is, Brownlee is about to find out and I for one cannot wait.

Shane Jones – NO

Shane Jones better enjoy that big bus because his chances of winning back Northland for NZ First are looking slim as hell. Jones’ terrible numbers in Sunday’s Colmar Brunton poll for Q+A suggest that despite his prominent placing in the current government, Jones’s individual appeal is close to nil. I know how Jones must feel. I was once the second best player on a basketball team where the best player did 80% of the work, singlehandedly making us a winning team. One time she was late to a game and suddenly I was in charge. It went about as badly as this poll but thankfully it was a girls’ basketball game so only 20 people were watching and not the whole country.

Now that I think about it, Jones may actually be the third most popular NZ First stalwart …

Covid-19 – YES

Jacinda Ardern launched Labour’s campaign at the Auckland town hall on Saturday and declared this the “Covid election”. Of course it is, but it’s still funny to come right out and say it. Labour will be campaigning on their track record in responding to the pandemic and National will be campaigning on, I guess, how they would have responded?

Focusing on Covid will work in Labour’s favour and they’re leaning into it. No more Mr Nice Labour, this is serious.

Jacinda Ardern – HUH?

Nobody is safe from that awkward few seconds at the end of a live video when you’re trying to figure out how to end it, not even the master of social media politics.



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