The world is indeed a mysterious place

The world is indeed a mysterious place. What were the Pharaohs thinking when they built giant triangles in the sand? Why is it that the men who wear stubbies are the ones who never should? And why, of all the places in New Zealand should Whangarei have a political representative from the National Party? It makes no sense at all to me yet it seems a fact set in stone. Like some archaic cultural ritual that we accept but that no one can remember the rationale for. Of course we ask for it. Every election. Or someone does at least. For the most part it seems counter intuitive that as an electorate we would gain much except the odd cycle way from a National manifesto. Show me the ‘Mum and Dad’ investors up here who are wetting themselves with excitement over the possibility of buying shares in utilities. Not many. If any. Most Mums and Dads I know are so busy working in their second and third jobs at the minimum wage – that they are far too distracted and worn out to even register the drawing of the battle lines between the two major parties over asset sales and workers’ rights last week. Most of it passed me by simply because I am fairly sure in the big game of bull-rush that is national politics and in the horse trading over who gets what – the North is likely to miss out once again. Northland is the abandoned corner of our nation and I wonder if Wellington knows. But of course it does. Political pundits on all sides know that Northland is poor and that the poor don’t vote. The North doesn’t count because we don’t make ourselves count and so we will continue to have health statistics that any self respecting South American shanty town would be embarrassed by. We will continue to lack a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote Northland as a tourist destination and our wealthy will continue to educate their kids out of the region rather than encourage local schools to match the options available in the bigger centres. We have a democracy then but it is a democracy of the relatively well off and the politically enfranchised minority. There is also the regressive notion, always apparent in small towns, that the wealthy somehow have the requisite intellectual resources to rule and so decision making is best left to those with vast sums of money - a myth best dispelled by actually getting to know some of them. But the myth may explain why, like some form of virulent political monarchy –we keep inheriting the same crew. The leg work required to get round the communities and socially disadvantaged groups and explain policy and the need to get politically active would be of Olympic proportions. Which is why anyone from the north with any political nous has packed up and gone to Wellington. Shane Jones gave it a decent go but even he couldn’t do it, and everyone else, frankly – plays the game like a bunch of girls. The greens haven’t woken up and realised that, vegan or not, politics is a blood sport and there are only two outcomes: win or die. Here’s a pop quiz for Labour: Who are the local reps and when were they last seen in public? Exactly. Show up. Kiss a baby. Act like you’re interested. At this point I’d vote for the guy with the ‘The End is Nigh’ sign, in his undies on his mobility scooter if he said that he was actually going to do something for Northland. Nationally we spend annually what it would cost to build a decent cancer ward for Northland, on subsidising the sedation of badly behaved pre-schoolers. Mysterious but true. Everyone loves a mystery and we can ensure that continues. It’s easy. Just don’t vote.

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