One Question Quiz
Which one of these MPs would you hand the aux cord to? And which one has less cycling playlists than you’d expect? (Image: Tina Tiller)
Which one of these MPs would you hand the aux cord to? And which one has less cycling playlists than you’d expect? (Image: Tina Tiller)

PoliticsAugust 29, 2022

A deep dive into the public Spotify profiles of New Zealand’s MPs

Which one of these MPs would you hand the aux cord to? And which one has less cycling playlists than you’d expect? (Image: Tina Tiller)
Which one of these MPs would you hand the aux cord to? And which one has less cycling playlists than you’d expect? (Image: Tina Tiller)

Which MP is an out-and-proud metalhead? Who had to Shazam ‘Call Me Maybe’? And who actually makes a good playlist? Sam Brooks dug through the Spotify profiles of nine of our MPs to get the dirt.

Earlier this month, in a TV interview, National leader Christopher Luxon revealed his fondness for Lunchmoney Lewis’s ode to paying too much for too little, ‘Bills’. He accompanied this revelation with a few bars from the track in question. He also unwittingly revealed a few of his liked songs to one eagle-eyed viewer (me):

Put that thing down, flip it and reverse it… is not a song found on Chris Luxon’s liked songs, flipped and reversed here.

They include ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ by Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton and Lee Ann Womack, ‘Catgroove’ by Patrov Stelar, ‘Starlight’ by the Superman Lovers feat. Mani Hoffman and several songs by the Steve Miller Band. An eclectic mix of songs for one person to like, to be sure, though not particularly surprising.

But it got me wondering. What do the rest of our elected representatives include on their public Spotify profiles? What playlists have they concocted for their daily run or workday commute? And what songs do they actually like?

As of this writing, only nine of our MPs have public Spotify profiles. What follows is a deep dive into those profiles, and a response from each MP on why theirs looks the way it does.

Chris Bishop

The Bish actually has a pretty enviable Spotify presence. He has a few monthly running playlists (Parkrun July 22, August 2021, February 2021), a 38th birthday playlist featuring the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Oasis, Something for Kate and Fur Patrol, and a playlist called Hutt Heroes, presumably named after the fun run of the same name.

“I like loud, raucous guitar based rock music to run to,” Bishop says in defence of his many running playlists, which are indeed full of loud, raucous, guitar based rock music: plenty of Shihad, Sugar and Pearl Jam.

His most intriguing playlist is “Shihad best of in chronological order”, which he says was made in the midst of lockdown last year. This is your annual reminder that ‘Home Again’ goes hard. As of this writing, the playlist has two likes.

Turns out, this particular playlist was a request from a constituent on Twitter. Bishop was “happy to oblige”.

Chlöe Swarbrick

It should be no surprise that the Green MP has pretty decent music taste – she was a radio host for some time, has had a segment on Charlotte Ryan’s MixTape, and is a Green MP. If you want to know what music was playing on bFM last year, you should go look at Chlöe Swarbrick’s playlists.

Swarbrick has an ear for a great playlist name, with hers ranging from “Ogay” to “ross from friends” to “small girl with big boots”, which may or may not be autobiographical. I wish I had more to say here, but these are mostly just some really good playlists with really great names. She’s also a comparatively popular profile for someone yet to drop her first single, with 161 followers.

Her explanation? “They’re all random playlists pulled together with silly names for mates, events and stuff. I listen to my friends’ playlists more than my own!”

Kiri Allan

Kiri Allan has a Spotify presence that I would describe as “your favourite aunty”. She has made only one playlist, at the end of last year, entitled 4.5L Hype. It’s a perfect mixture of summer afternoon vibes, cruising into an evening of light bops and lovely bangers.

The story behind this playlist is heartwarming. She tells us it’s named after her office location in the Beehive and was created during the protest at Parliament earlier this year, a tough time for everyone who worked in the building.

“Ahead of our morning meeting, I asked everyone to submit their top two hype tracks for a playlist to lift the mood and bring some positive vibes,” she says. “I brought a whole lot of pastries in and brewed some coffee and we put on some bangers to kick-start the day. 

She goes on: “We definitely judged each other based on their choices, and thanks to your enquiry you may notice we’ve given the playlist a refresh to include new staff, including the controversial addition of Brooke Fraser alongside Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’.”

The rest of Allan’s playlists on her profile are ones she’s liked, including Great Female Voices, Coffee + Chill, Best Classical Music, and This is Leonard Cohen. She also has a great collected playlist of a bunch of choirs performing te reo waiata, which I can’t recommend more highly. I’d be more than happy to give Aunty Kiri the aux cord, honestly.

Jan Logie

The long-serving Green MP has a comparatively slight presence on Spotify, having liked collected playlists of The Pretenders, Neil Young, and Tegan + Sara. She also has an obviously titled playlist called “australian holiday”, an unimpeachable banger of a playlist called “catharsis” (‘Holding out for a Hero’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’), and a 58-strong playlist called ‘sugar is bad’, which might as well be called “The Breeze, hosted by Jan Logie”

Logie says she tends to use Spotify for road trips, being “all about” the vinyl when she’s at home. “Sugar is bad” is her singalong playlist. “There’s many songs I would be embarrassed to admit I can’t help singing along to,” she says. “‘Stand by Your Man’ as a case in point. Love it, but feel a bit bad afterwards!”

Dan Rosewarne

Have you heard of Dan Rosewarne? Probably not, because he made his maiden speech about a month ago after replacing Kris Faafoi on the list. He described himself as a husband, a tradie, a cancer survivor, and a soldier. 

He did not describe himself as a metalhead, which is really burying the lede.

“It is true that my love for metal has no bounds,” he tells us. “I’ve got a good selection of metal t-shirts that I have to hide from my wife so she doesn’t throw them out!” He also gave Spinoff readers an exclusive laundry tip: Never tumble dry a metal tee, just hang it on the line (not in the sun) and place pegs in the corners so it doesn’t distort the printed artwork on the front.

Rosewarne has a Spotify presence that I would describe as “dudes rock, actually”. His playlist titles include Jabber, Dan’s Running Mix, Rosey’s Country and my personal favourite, Bogans Who Like To Exercise! These songs feature bands called Five Finger Death Punch (biologically improbable), Eve to Adam (feminist?), Endeverafter (sad), and Toby Keith (country).

The coup de grace has to be his latest playlist, set in Spotify stone within the past month. It is entitled “Dan Rosewarne MP” and runs for just over an hour, featuring the likes of Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth and White Zombie. Surprisingly, the name is not a reference to his new job. The MP stands for “metal playlist”, and runs for that amount of time because it’s how long it takes him to run 10-12km. 

It’s official, moshers: We have a metalhead in the house of reps.

Nicola Willis

Nicola Willis has the liked playlists of someone who has four kids, and for whom Spotify is a key weapon to cajole them into submission. It is a kaleidoscope of music for kids – there is Disney aplenty, light dance tracks abound, even a vintage ‘The Fox’ for laughs. I cannot and will not fault her for this.

However, there is one anomaly: “My Shazam Tracks”. On this playlist, which is gleaned automatically from songs that I assume Willis has Shazamed, then sent through to Spotify (data sharing is a scourge on our society), there are two songs. ‘Red Red Wine’ by UB40 and ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen. Both bangers, but also both songs that are wildly recognisable due to their titles being in their respective choruses. Did she really need to Shazam them?

Willis puts the blame for both on her four children. “Like many parents, my Spotify account has been periodically hijacked by my primary-aged children,” she says, noting their music taste may be as “dubious” as that of the parents raising them. However, she’s quick to defend that UB40 Shazam: “I note the interest in an 80s classic, and as an 80s child myself I have to say I feel a little bit proud.”

Teanau Tuiono

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Teanau Tuiono has a 61 song-strong Taylor Swift playlist. It includes basically all of Swift’s albums except Red, which only has two tracks included – interesting! Do we have our first Swiftie in the house as well?

Turns out, not quite. Tuiono’s youngest made the playlist for him, which he tweeted about in October of last year, and a Billie Eilish one for herself. He describes his actual Spotify presence as a “random dad mix” of 80s heavy metal, new wave, RnB, country, hip-hop and Cook Islands music.

“My kids are not fans,” he says. “They say things like ‘No one likes listening to your sci-fi country music, Dad’ and ‘What’s up with Pacific Island Dolly Parton, Dad?’”

He has two other playlists, a hip hop/rap one titled “hubba bubba krang”, and a more modern hip-hop one titled “fat ruppeygied”. When asked to explain them, he was noncommittal: “I dunno – sounds like something my kids set up – I should take a look at that.”

Julie Anne Genter

Julie Anne Genter has two “cycling” playlists. That’s more than you’d expect a non-cyclist to have, but significantly less than you’d expect from a noted bike evangelist like Genter. She also has a presumably non-cycling playlist including some select Adele, Lorde and Kate Bush cuts, which is what I’d dub a “pinot gris playlist”.

According to Genter, however, in fact all three are cycling playlists. She “cycles” between them, no pun intended, while riding her bike with Bluetooth enabled. She tells us her toddler, who usually rides with her and is very enthusiastic about New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and The Cure’s ‘Love Cats’, has a lot of input into the playlists.

“He liked [Adele’s] ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’ and some Lorde songs, however he recently decided that ‘Supercut’ is too scary so he makes me skip that song,” she says. Sorry Ella! Thus far, Genter has managed to keep the toddler’s requests for Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ and other songs from the Trolls: World Tour soundtrack at bay.

Genter also has two outlying playlists, My Playlist #10, which is completely blank, and My Playlist #9, which has an array of nonsensical songs on it. She puts the blame on her toddler for these. “He’s recently been playing around with Spotify looking for audiobooks and things, he can’t really read or write yet but he’s pretty adept at finding stuff via the cover pictures,” she says. “I’m wondering if he somehow created those playlists by accident.”

Has bFM found its newest DJ? Time will tell.

Kieran McAnulty

New Zealand’s most famous ex-ute owner in politics has but one playlist to his name: “Election night party”. While it has since been removed from public view, it had three likes when I viewed the playlist in its curious entirety on Monday.

The first two songs are a good representation of the chaos of it. The first is ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by The Black-Eyed Peas, the bane of any darkened dancefloor from 2009-11. The second is ‘Hey Ya!’ by OutKast, one of the best songs of the 2000s – or any decade, really. The rest of the playlist lurches around like an out-of-control version of The Hits. Doobie Brothers? You’ve got ‘em. Whitney? She’s there. ‘Living Next Door to Alice’? You bet we are.

“Wairarapa people love a good party,” McAnulty says. “I figured it was only right at the end of a long campaign when volunteers, friends and family have given their time and effort over many months that I shout them a feed and a few drinks to say thanks, and give them a chance to let their hair down.

“I made this playlist for the party to make sure that regardless of the result, we were going to have a good time. And we did.”

McAnulty has a simple rationale when it comes to music: if the aunties are loving it, everyone is loving it. “You don’t want just the young ones dancing, nor do you just want Nana quietly bopping away to Jim Reeves. Chuck on a few classic bangers and before you know it, everyone is up urging Eileen to come on.”

While he’s happy to consider additions to the playlist, he notes that the 2020 election night party was one of his best ragers ever, so he’s reluctant to mess with genius.

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