Rodney Hide: Can we have our election back?

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Following September 20 either John Key or David Cunliffe will be Prime Minister. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Following September 20 either John Key or David Cunliffe will be Prime Minister. Photo / Mark Mitchell

This election has been like watching the Bledisloe Cup. Just as the ball's kicked off, the ball boys start a verbal. The cameras zoom in. The argument looks hot and bothered but it's not the test.

The cameras stay fixed on the boys. Aargh.

We want the real game. That's what we sat down for. Nicky Hager, Cameron Slater and Kim Dotcom are the ball boys in this election. They aren't the game.

The real test is John Key versus David Cunliffe. At stake is who gets to run the government for three years.

We must decide whose judgment we want applied to the likes of the global financial crisis, the Canterbury earthquakes, the threat of international terrorism. It's a big deal.

There's also the choice of competing policy promises and the respective teams. It's not just blue versus red. It's also the support players. There are the Greens and Internet-Mana versus United and Act.

Oh, and Winston. We don't know which way he would jump if voters handed him the balance of power. I doubt he knows. He's waiting until after the election to see.

MMP elections are tough for voters. There's a lot of information to take on board; there's a lot to weigh up, a lot of choice and a dizzy array of permutations. The conceivable arrangements for government are mind-boggling.

The election is important. It's big, tough and serious. It's hard to see what's happening and what's at stake when Dirty Politics and the ball boys are distracting us.

Not that we want it all serious and weighty public policy. A bit of entertainment to lighten the tension is fine. But it shouldn't come at the expense of the test. I very much enjoyed Pam Corkery bursting across our screen calling a TV journalist a "puffed up little s***". That was great half-time entertainment. It took Corkery to forthrightly say what we all think.

But as rude and true as she is, Corkery is not the main show. The biggest contest we ever have is the election every three years. And we are getting distracted by a sideshow.

Following September 20 either John Key or David Cunliffe will be Prime Minister. One will win and be running the country. The other will lose and be out on his ear.

It matters big time for the both of them. It matters big time for the country.

But whatever the result Kim Dotcom will still be facing extradition, Nicky Hager will be off writing his 2017 election bombshell and Cameron Slater will still be blogging.

The result doesn't matter to them. They don't run the country. We have had the sideshow. Let's get back to the match that matters. Can we have our election back?

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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