Bill Ralston: Coming to the party

by Bill Ralston / 10 June, 2014
Why do I always miss out on what the politicians are promising?
Ever feel you’re missing out? I had that feeling recently during the debate over paid parental leave, the Government offering more of it, topped then by Labour offering still more.

I’m sure it’s a great thing for new parents to be paid to stay home and look after baby for four months or so. But what about paid parental leave for those of us who have raised kids who are now in their early twenties? We had to suffer through the trauma of their painful teenage years, and only now can we collapse exhausted by the emotional marathon. Someone should pay us to have 16 weeks off to recover.

"Dude! Check it out! Waynes and Shanes! We're a demographic!"

Then there is the question of free medical care for children under the age of 13. No sooner did the Government announce it than the Greens upped the ante to all children under 18. I’m hanging in waiting for New Zealand First to go the whole hog and offer free doctors’ visits to people over 60. It might be a long wait.

There is Working for Families. I work. I have a family. Yet I don’t get a brass razoo. I’m sure it’s very good for those needy families that get the loot but what about the rest of us? I seem to be in that uncomfortable small demographic that pays three-quarters of the nation’s tax revenue and gets bugger all back.

I know, I’m raving like some loony Act acolyte. I would join the party except it now seems there are only three battlefatigued folk in its trenches, exhorted ever forward and over the top by a manic ­Richard Prebble.

Perhaps the new Internet-Mana party might hold some hope for me. That Dotcom bloke allegedly doesn’t like paying fees – well, copyright fees, anyway. However, party leader Laila Harré has a messianic look in her eyes that suggests recidivist reactionaries like me will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

And what about the dear old Conservatives? They may offer some hope of lollies for middle-class beggars like me but I noticed one of their advertisements recently praising that old leftist Sue Bradford, which has made me wonder if Colin Craig wasn’t really some kind of socialist Trojan Horse. Elect Colin and suddenly we’re all sweating kulaks working in a collective while he sniggers evilly at how effective his deception really was.

There is always New Zealand First – after all it was Winston who gave 65-year-olds the blessed Gold Card that I aspire to have one day. Why I want one I do not know as I haven’t caught a bus since 1978 and so I’m unlikely to get a free ride anywhere. However, I appear to be at least a decade short of the entry age to join this party.

The Greens are always an option, although they seem dedicated, like some political Telethon, to taking everything I’ve got and giving it to “the children”. When I die every­thing I have will go to my children and I’m buggered if I can see why I’d want to give it all away now to someone else’s children.

There is, of course, Labour, which gave us nearly a decade of economic stability and growth under the saintly Helen, Our Lady of the United Nations. Except I distinctly remember David Whatsisname saying he’d quite like to put up the age of superannuation. The thought of watching my Gold Card recede into the septuagenarian years is too much to contemplate.

Then again I could support Peter Dunne, along with his policies of keeping himself in office for a world record-shattering length of time, but I really don’t like his haircut. Curious that the only thing I can find notable about him is his hair.

And National. Pay me to take 16 weeks’ leave and give me a free doctor’s visit and I might think about it.

Follow the Listener on Twitter or Facebook.
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


A post-mortem on Todd Barclay and Matt McCarten's fiascos
76497 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Politics

A post-mortem on Todd Barclay and Matt McCarten's …

by Jane Clifton

In the catalogue of disaster, is a Todd Barclay worse than a Matt McCarten?

Read more
The Trump family's Kremlin connection
76655 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z World

The Trump family's Kremlin connection

by Paul Thomas

From “nothing to see here” to a Cold War-era spy story played out in real life, the Trump family’s Kremlin connection is a source of fascination.

Read more
The Journey – movie review
76661 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

The Journey – movie review

by James Robins

A van isn’t a great vehicle for a drama on how old enemies ended the Troubles.

Read more
Gaylene Preston on the difficulties of filming at the United Nations
76664 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Gaylene Preston on the difficulties of filming at …

by David Larsen

Tracking Helen Clark’s tilt for the top job at the United Nations, Gaylene Preston documented the creatures of the diplomatic world.

Read more
Jackie van Beek puts the gags aside for The Inland Road
76815 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Jackie van Beek puts the gags aside for The Inland…

by Russell Baillie

Best known for her comedy roles, Jackie van Beek takes a dramatic detour in her feature-directing debut.

Read more
Parisian Neckwear plays the long game, even as its centenary approaches
76427 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Small business

Parisian Neckwear plays the long game, even as its…

by Rob O'Neill

Parisian Neckwear, founded in 1919, has survived depression, war, deregulation and a deluge of cheap imports. How? Just feel the cloth.

Read more
David Tamihere case: Key witnesses' doubts about murder of Swedish tourists
76738 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Crime

David Tamihere case: Key witnesses' doubts about m…

by Donna Chisholm

Nearly 30 years after young Swedish tourists Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen disappeared in the Coromandel key witnesses say the mystery haunts them.

Read more
Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and human exploitation collide
76728 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and huma…

by The Conversation

With the advent of orphanage tourism, travellers think they're doing good. But they can often just be lining the pockets of the orphanages' owners.

Read more