The Soap Box: Politics is missing the theatre

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 4 September 2017, 5:47AM
These are essentially the fill-in events while they prepare and perform for their spin doctors away from the cameras for the main event. (Photo \ Getty Images)
These are essentially the fill-in events while they prepare and perform for their spin doctors away from the cameras for the main event. (Photo \ Getty Images)

Politics is these days missing the theatre, although in fairness Winston Peters is still performing and looks set to be playing the starring role after the vote in three weeks time.

He'll undoubtedly put on another performance this week while the big players will continue what so far has been a fairly mundane affair, even if it doesn't seem to have damaged the star status of Jacinda Ardern whose increased her odds of picking up that big pay cheque in just over three weeks time, and a rent free mansion in Wellington, not to mention the perks for life.

Providing she holds on to the job for two years or more she'll get the Prime Ministerial pension of more than fifty grand a year, free air travel and chauffeur driven limmos, if she's doing jobs associated with her former job, and a free car for personal use, replaced every time it clocks up sixty thousand clicks. They're the perks for life and given her tender age, she'll have her hand in the taxpayer's pocket for decades.

Perhaps that's one of the reasons why Bill English so desperately wants to hang on to the job, given he will have been in it for less than two years, and if he doesn't win, he won't qualify for those ongoing perks.

And it's fair to say the current aspirants don't put in the same election campaign hard slog that former contenders did. Long gone are the daily Town Hall meetings around regional New Zealand, along with the theatre that accompanied them, like a piglet once being released in Hamilton's Founders Theatre as Rob Muldoon, known as Piggy Muldoon, was about to speak.

Last week, officially the first of the campaign, saw Jacinda Ardern essentially at schools and tertiary institutions where she was mobbed by students wanting selfies while Bill English also hit learning institutions but at least did venture into a shopping mall for a walkabout among the great unwashed which can be high risk, given they're expected to shake the hand of any random who approaches them.

But these are essentially the fill-in events while they prepare and perform for their spin doctors away from the cameras for the main event, the television debate. There's another one of those tonight and another one on Thursday. You'd have to wonder what they can say that hasn't already been said but with the political tumult of the past several weeks, the only thing that's predictable about this campaign is the unpredictable.

Odds are there'll more of that to come and Winston Peters won't be far from the action, even if at the moment he might not be the central player.

ON AIR: Larry Williams Drive

4PM - 7PM