Too much news? Welcome to the only round-up you need.
We’re so close. We’re so close that I voted on Saturday thinking I’d be smart and check out early but forgetting that I still have this column. If you haven’t voted yet, what are you doing? You could be free! If you haven’t voted because you genuinely enjoy the ritual of voting on election day and participating in democracy among your fellow citizens … good for you, I guess? It’s a small comfort to know that joy can still be felt at the end of the world’s longest campaign/year.
Everyone’s checking out
It seems I’m not alone in my battle with election fatigue. Record turnout in advance voting has seen more than 1.2 million votes cast by Sunday. That’s closing in on half the total votes cast in the 2017 election. Sometimes finishing early is good for the health. The downside (upside?) is that with so many votes in and ready to be counted, we’ll all have a pretty good indication of the final result approx 20 minutes after polls close at 7pm on election night. It’s fine but it feels weird, like the new year’s countdown randomly being at 9:30.
DON’T DISRESPECT SĀMOA
Write it down, take a picture, put it on a t-shirt (don’t do this, I’m already doing this), put it on my grave and say tālofa because we’ve found the quote of 2020. I wish Judith Collins had snapped “DON’T DISRESPECT SĀMOA” at Jacinda Ardern in response to Ardern actually disrespecting Sāmoa. Instead, my new favourite trio of words was deployed during the third leaders’ debate in response to a reasonable objection to Collins once again using Sāmoa’s Covid response to criticise New Zealand’s. The details are semantic and, more importantly, irrelevant. All you need to know is that the words were said in earnest and will have more staying power than anything else said or done this election, even if I have to singlehandedly make it so.
A coalition between Jacinda and Ardern
It’s no secret that Labour’s campaign this year is less Labour and more Ardern, but they don’t typically admit it in public. Early in Tuesday’s debate, viewers were treated to a perfect Freudian slip when Ardern said “you’ve seen up close how I operate as a government”. It was a minor flub but from someone known globally for her communication skills, it’s a telling mistake. But it’s not really a mistake, is it? We all know someone who’s voting based entirely off the fact that they want to be friends with Ardern. #girlboss #imwithher #neverthelessshepersisted
Remember Billy Te Kahika?
For a whole four weeks I forgot that Billy TK, leader of Advance NZ and fan of dangerous conspiracy theories, existed and that’s my privilege. Te Kahika is very popular on social media and posts a lot of nonsense about 5G causing cancer and other such pleasantries. His posts have been shown to contain a lot of “half truths” and never was that more apparent than when he and fellow party member Jami Lee-Ross said that Te Kahika was polling well and on track to win Te Tai Tokerau. In reality, Te Kahika is barely making single digits in the polls. I’m sure he’ll find a way to stretch that truth too.
The coveted tweet
Remember when the government paid Barack Obama a heap of money to visit New Zealand and promote the tourism economy? Remember when he arrived, did virtually nothing, and then did nothing virtually by not even tweeting about it? The Spinoff will never forget.
Perhaps to appease all those desperate for leaders to be on Twitter (I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy to be on Twitter), notoriously inactive Ardern took the bait from a press gallery journalist and tweeted for the first time since June. Can’t believe she used her one tweet to make a shout out but I endorse her support of local bookstores.
Remember: you can show up to any voting station from now until Saturday and vote. You don’t need ID, you don’t need proof of address, you don’t need to be in your electorate, and you don’t need to be wearing a bra. Just show up, shuffle across a community hall of sorts, and vote. I can personally recommend voting while hungover in order to feel a tiny bit less like an unproductive sack of shit. I voted on Saturday with a friend on our way back from the Burger King drive-thru (where we order 5x large hash bites). If that’s accepted as a legitimate vote then you really do have no excuse. See you on the other side.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.