Sunday, November 23, 2008


One morning in 1984, my stepmother woke me with the news that parliament had been dissolved. Never being a morning person even then, I wondered what it had been dissolved in and why my stepmother was so happy at the news that the place where my father worked had been liquidated. They must have used a hell of an acid bath, or maybe an American warship had lost its load in Wellington's harbour.

The grin became less malevolent as she went to say that the old man was to be in government shortly. He had lived. I found out the details in drips and drabs later that week. The only part of parliament that had been bombed the other night had been Muldoon. But it was the first of many rude awakenings as Trev ascended into the lofty heights of government and public awareness.

As a fourth former at Palmerston North Boys' High, I became reluctant spokesperson for Trev. I was confronted one morning by school mates asking whether the old man kept a shotgun under his bed. The Dominion had a story quoting from a speech he had given the previous day. From that day forth, the Chemistry teacher (Dr Furness, as I recall) referred to me as Buckshot. In order to keep ahead of the curve, I scoured newspapers and television for signs of Trev. I saw more of the old man on the TV than I ever got to see him in person.

Thankfully, media saturation wasn't at the same level as today. My stepmother was spared the level of intimacy sought by some hacks from Peter Davis. I was spared the ethically elastic angles of a papparazzi hanging out in front of the house on election night. I didn't have a Google News section in my name.

The families of MPs have enough shit to deal with as it is, without the media sticking their nose in too far. Leave them the hell alone.