The Soap Box: Ardern shamelessly using family as campaign tool

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 14 September 2017, 6:20AM
Jacinda Ardern is shamelessly introducing us to family members. (Photo \ NZ Herald)
Jacinda Ardern is shamelessly introducing us to family members. (Photo \ NZ Herald)

We're entering the home stretch of the campaign and it seems the political leaders are now pulling out all stops.

Usually in politics, families are out of bounds but not in this election it seems. As the reinvigorated Bill English, suddenly given what would seem to be an unbelievable 10 percent opinion poll lead over Labour, and his opponent Jacinda Ardern is shamelessly introducing us to family members.

Ardern, playing to the Zimmer frame and hearing aide vote, told the story of a bursting at the seams Waikato Hospital trying to turn her 85 year old Granddad out into the night this week. He lives an hour away from the medical facility, she told an empathetic Grey Power audience.

She told them the hospital was full, hardly surprising as winter illness sweeps the country. But that's not good enough, she'll turn that around she promised.

Yeah, well a hard pressed hospital system's been part of election campaigns since her Granddad was a boy, certainly since Jim Anderton once had an audience tearfully wincing, telling them of a man with testicles the size of grapefruit being unable to get the treatment he clearly needed.

Ardern left the impression of the old man being turned out to fend for himself. The hospital say they don't discharge unwell people without support being in place for them. It turns out an Ardern family member was actually on hand to ensure her Granddad stayed the night.

The Health Minister Jonathan Coleman imperiously said it was a bit rich bringing family into the campaign which isn't something that politicians usually do. The good doctor should have talked to his boss Bill English about that one who brought his disabled son out on to the campaign trail this week, in his drive to empower people with disabilities.

He interviewed his son on Facebook, about coping with life proudly announcing that the delightful young man was just finishing his university course.

So it would seem anything goes in this cliff-hanger.

The man who first came up with the three strikes and they're out, Winston Peters, a policy later picked up by Act, now wants police flying squads whizzing around the country cleaning up the riffraff.

While they're at it they could swoop on the man at the centre of the latest shock horror, National's second term list MP Jian Yang, who we're told studied at an elite Chinese spy school before coming here to teach international relations at Auckland University almost 20 years ago. Hardly a threat to our national security, whatever that is, with his boss English saying he's never made any secret about his background.

Nine days to go, watch this space, there's another opinion poll out tonight.

 

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