Congratulations to Lewis Holden for becoming the Nat candidate for Rimutaka. I first met Lewis during the NZ Flag campaign, and later got to know him on the occasional times I'd turn up to Republican Movement meetings. Nice choice, Nats. Lewis goes head to head against Labour incumbent Chris Hipkins. Skippy and me crossed paths at Vic Uni, so this election marks the first occasion where Facebook mates square off against each other for a seat.
Labour's candidates Rob McCann and Tony Milne are also known quantities. Rob McCann is an old school mate from way back, who ended up in the public service. He's the true Labour heir to the Otaki electorate, after Darren Hughes pulled the wrong pin and Mitchell jump-seated the last election. I hope Rob unseats Nathan Guy there. Doing so would raise the IQ of both Labour and National caucuses.
Tony Milne was (former Labour Chief Whip and current Labour Party Secretary) Tim Barnett's Mini-Me back in the early 2000's when I began learning the art of lobbying the hard way over drug reform. I met them for a short consultation in Auckland, where I was informed that Peter Dunne has rooted the numbers after the 2002 election (after the worm, which was after Corngate, which was after everything else). Tony Milne is well-suited to run for Christchurch.
But it becomes evident that Labour's Got Talent is picking from an ever-decreasing puddle. The student activists and broad union base has dried up, and Labour is resorting to fellow travelers in the political or media classes; career politicians and bleeding heart journos. It could be, it might be worse. Lacking any unifying principles beyond autocracy, NZ First and the Maori Party have reached for weather presenters in the search for Beta demagogues to keep up appearances.
If Labour can't stop Spinal Tapping around in the wilderness and disappearing in a raspberry cloud of self-indulgent alienation, this fate or worse awaits. They're already onto their third lead singer in six years, and their fifth drummer, Matt McCarten, has joined the band after the last drummer exploded in shingles. Matt McCarten's drum solos are known for their originality, not their longevity.
It's academic as far as I'm concerned. I joined the Green Party last Winter Solstice. While I might not agree with all the ingredients that go into the Green Party sausage factory, what comes out at the other end in the way of policy doesn't make the public violently ill. Take their latest policy to get kids to school without SUVs, for example. The NZ Herald yummed it up, Hooton reckons the Nats will probably grab the idea, and there's not a squeak from the Soccer Mums. Anyone who can defuse a Soccer Mum has my respect.
The Greens aren't looking to be a minority coalition partnership with Labour. They know that if Cunliffe had a choice to rebuff the Greens and go into government with NZ First, he would do so. Longer term, the Greens are aiming for a majority. The Greens equivalent of Labour's Rob McCann, Wellington's James Shaw, has been likewise pushed up the provisional Green Party List. McCann and Shaw are both organisers. They make shit happen.
So Labour and the Greens both know what's ahead and what's at stake. In the adaptability stakes, my money's on the Greens.