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John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: Hip-hop song scrapes bottom of rotten barrel

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The funding was awarded in $6000 blocks over a number of past years, however, to fund some of the group's earlier songs - not Kill the Prime Minister, writes John Armstrong. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The funding was awarded in $6000 blocks over a number of past years, however, to fund some of the group's earlier songs - not Kill the Prime Minister, writes John Armstrong. Photo / Sarah Ivey

From dirty politics to the politics of the downright vulgar and vile. After two weeks of absolute tumult, the election campaign looked like returning to normality yesterday. Or about as normal as an election campaign can get. It was not to be. This weird campaign just gets more surreal by the day.

Enter Auckland-based hip-hop crew @Peace and their Kill the Prime Minister dirge.

Ever since Elvis Presley shook his hips in provocative fashion while claiming to be nothing but a hound dog, it has been the function of rock 'n' roll to shock. @Peace have taken that maxim to the extreme of the obscene with the lyrics which reference the Prime Minister's daughter.

The song is the product of some pretty sick minds scraping a very rotten barrel. The band thus must be acutely disappointed that it only managed to draw indignation from Family First and the Taxpayers' Union, especially as the group has probably done its chips when it comes to future NZ on Air funding for such things as video production.

The Taxpayers' Union noted NZ on Air had granted the group $30,000. That makes something of a mockery of the song's lyrics which has the vocalist "suffering" while John Key is "doing nothing".

The Taxpayers' Union questioned how someone "spouting messages of hate" was the best use of taxpayers' money. The funding was awarded in $6000 blocks over a number of past years, however, to fund some of the group's earlier songs - not Kill the Prime Minister.

By yesterday afternoon, @Peace appeared to have realised it had made a rather big mistake. It posted on Facebook, saying the song had been written with the purpose of getting young voters to enrol. Anyone who has listened to the song will know that is an untruth of huge proportions. The lyrics have nothing to do with enrolling to vote. @Peace bring to mind a rock music critic's review of a performance of The Clash in their early punk days: that they were the sort of garage band that should be left in the garage with the motor running. To say that about @Peace would be to be guilty of the very sin @Peace is being accused of.

Even so, @Peace may have miscalculated such that it is to be hoped they will soon be a case of Rest In Peace.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

John Armstrong

John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

Herald political correspondent John Armstrong has been covering politics at a national level for nearly 30 years. Based in the Press Gallery at Parliament in Wellington, John has worked for the Herald since 1987. John was named Best Columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and was a previous winner of Qantas media awards as best political columnist. Prior to joining the Herald, John worked at Parliament for the New Zealand Press Association. A graduate of Canterbury University's journalism school, John began his career in journalism in 1981 on the Christchurch Star. John has a Masters of Arts degree in political science from Canterbury.

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