You can’t keep a good doctor down. Here’s Doc McGrath’s update from the campaign trail in the Wairarapa electorate, where he received 453 votes at the last election, Libertarianz Party leader Richard McGrath says he was delighted with the attendance and response from a sizeable crowd at the Royal Hotel in Featherston last night.
After a 200 km drive directly from my job a Whanganui alcohol and drug clinic, I headed straight into a debate lasting two-and-a-quarter hours last night before a eighty-strong crowd packing the main bar in the historic old Royal Hotel.
The format was pretty much that of the Backbenches TV show, with five candidates from ACT, Greens, Labour, Conservatives and Libertarianz having their own microphone and taking turns making their policies known to the good people of South Wairarapa. Sitting National MP John Hayes was not there. Instead, he was represented by a photograph on a mantlepiece above an open fire, and by the raspberries from disgruntled voters.
Each speaker had two minutes to introduce themself, then the adjudicator fired a series of questions at candidates, after which the forum was opened to questions from the floor.
We covered everything, from the economy to social issues and the environment. When the subject of anti-smacking laws was brought up, discussion became heated between the Labour and Conservative candidates. Ever the mediator, I stepped in to suggest that if the two protagonists did not settle down I would smack their bottoms. Much laughter. Matter solved.
The Labour Party had loyal support from a group of people near the front who I can only describe as muppets, who applauded on cue to every noise their candidate made—even when he was just clearing his throat. So make that unthinking muppets. (I think even Kermit the Frog would outpoint them on grey matter.) The rest of the crowd was a mixed bunch, with the usual earnest but misguided Greens voters, serious but delusional conservatives, and the inevitable eccentric character who had to be led away after an obscure rant on a subject candidates found difficult if not impossible to understand.
I hammered home again the irrationality of minimum wage laws, suggesting if they were such a good idea the Labour candidate would be pushing for $100 an hour. Even the muppets wouldn’t go that far.
I also said my party was flattered by the Maori and Labour Party's adoption of a tax-free income band for low wage earners, and received plaudits afterwards from a Labour supporter (clearly not a muppet) who hadn't realised this policy had originated from the Libertarianz Party. (Yes, Virginia, like “One Law for All” and other sometime mainstream policies, it started first with us.)
There are further meetings for Wairarapa candidates next week on Sunday and Monday nights (Masterton), Tuesday (Martinborough) and Thursday (Carterton), in each of which voters will be offered election bribes from the twelve Nanny State political parties, or the chance to reclaim their freedom and rediscover prosperity from the one party that offers fresh hope at this election - Libertarianz.
Why do I do it? Because if I don’t, and if you don’t, then Nanny wins. New Zealand is too good a place to let that happen.