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.

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