Mark Sainsbury: Animals still need help after election

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Right next to the SPCA stall was a bookshop doing a roaring trade with Nicky Hager's  Dirty Politics  flying off the shelves. Photo / APN
Right next to the SPCA stall was a bookshop doing a roaring trade with Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics flying off the shelves. Photo / APN

Dogs don't care about this election. Cats like to appear if as they know something but the truth is they don't. They don't have KiwiSaver for a start, so a new bonus for first-home buyers doesn't cut it, nor does a free bus pass.

For dogs and cats and other abandoned animals the SPCA's annual cupcake sale is something they should care about as it can literally save their lives.

So I found myself yesterday morning on a stall in Lambton Quay among other volunteers dressed in plushy animal suits (none in my size, sadly) trying to raise money to keep them alive.

As we try to save the animals, politicians of all hues are desperately trying to save their careers. So how's it going?

Right next to the stall was a bookshop doing a roaring trade, with Dirty Politics flying off the shelves, apparently, but back at the cupcake stall it was harder to divine the political winds. I thought at first colour might be a giveaway but with cupcake aficionados the choices are more straightforward.

Chocolate or not chocolate.

Most of the kind people buying or donating were aware of the book. There was a consensus that it had derailed National's campaign a bit, but they weren't necessarily viewing it as a vote-changer.

Perhaps they didn't like to mix politics and animals, although as you'll see shortly, some certainly do. With cupcakes, like politics, we tend to know what we want and influencing a choice change is very, very difficult. It's often a matter of association. If your preferred flavour becomes associated with something you don't like or approve of, then the door opens for change.

Former US President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was the wiliest if not dirtiest political operator. And he understood it's not just what you prove about your opponent that counts.

Back in the 50s, when campaigning for the Senate, he told his campaign staff to start circulating rumours that his opponent liked to have sex with barnyard animals (and you thought it was bad here!)

His staff were naturally shocked and protested to LBJ that they certainly couldn't do that as it wasn't true.

"I know that," thundered back Johnson. "I just want to hear him deny it."

This is going to be a campaign full of denials and some inescapable admissions, but post-election day, when the politicians are done with us, our animal friends will still need our help.

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