Wise­cracks fly in lean­ers’ de­bate

North Taranaki Midweek - - MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE AUCKLAND - RACHAEL KELLY

OPIN­ION

For two years and nine months of every po­lit­i­cal term, the go­ings-on at the Bee­hive aren’t a hot topic around the lean­ers at the lo­cal pub.

Un­less there’s some kind of scan­dalous pol­icy like the Fart Tax that gets the farm­ers up in arms (you should have heard the lan­guage!), politi­cians are pretty much re­garded as a bunch of id­iots who are out of touch with the real world that we all dwell in.

Lately though, the lo­cals have be­gun pin­ning their rosettes on their sleeves and hav­ing some rather ro­bust po­lit­i­cal de­bates over a quiet ale or three.

The horse rac­ing or rugby re­play on the telly gets changed for the nightly news at the mo­ment - and the sound is turned up so the old bug­gers who don’t wear hear­ing aids can hear about the day’s po­lit­i­cal de­bate.

Many of them are back­ing Bill English be­cause he’s a farmer like them. They don’t mind Jacinda Ardern, though her ap­peal prob­a­bly has more to do with ap­pear­ance than pol­icy.

‘‘Bet­ter to look at than the rest of those bas­tards,’’ one of the old timers quipped last week.

Ap­pear­ance won’t change his vote to a red one though.

Win­ston still raises a smile. They love him purely be­cause he winds up the other politi­cians, and gives those bloody jour­nal­ists a hard time. Present com­pany ex­cepted, of course.

The one con­stituent who outed him­self as a Green voter a while ago is get­ting a past­ing over a few quiet ales - not for wear­ing socks with his ro­man san­dals, but be­cause his favoured party might not make the five per cent thresh­old and could end up with no seats in par­lia­ment.

The lo­cals have wel­comed this news with noth­ing short of pure, unadul­ter­ated glee.

No-one in the val­ley ir­ri­gates, but they’re stand­ing strong with the farm­ers who will be taxed ‘to the tits’ should Labour win the elec­tion. Farm­ers, they say, are the back­bone of the econ­omy but they’re ei­ther for­got­ten about by Na­tional, in for a hid­ing from the

‘‘The horse rac­ing or rugby re­play on the telly gets changed for the nightly news at the mo­ment.’’

tax depart­ment from Labour, or picked on by the Greens no mat­ter what hap­pens - and noth­ing would suit them more than not hav­ing them in par­lia­ment.

They’ve been run­ning their farms at a loss for years, you see, and they don’t need to be told what to do by some­one who sits in an of­fice in Welling­ton and has never got their gum­boots dirty.

The lo­cals fear the coun­try is go­ing to turn into a na­tion of hippy ve­g­ans, be­cause no-one will be able to af­ford to buy meat once the ex­tra compliance and tax is added to their bot­tom lines.

Al­though once the crop grow­ers are taxed for the wa­ter they need to use, there’ll be no ‘three veg’ to go with the meat on the plate any­way.

Bug­gered if they know what they’re go­ing to eat.

They fear for Marl­bor­ough’s hop grow­ers - imag­ine the up­roar if they couldn’t pro­duce a crop.

No beer. That would be more scan­dalous in th­ese parts than the Greens win­ning a seat.

SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Win­ston raises a smile be­cause he winds up the other politi­cians and gives jour­nal­ists a hard time.

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