Working class voices are missing in our election. This is an election contested between an educated class more willing to compromise on tax than 100 per cent renewables, against the property-owning classes not willing to redistribute at all - 'The haves versus the have yachts'.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the politics of Covid. Why would the congregation of the Mt Roskill church hesitate to get tested and even sneak out of isolation? Ask the woman in Auckland, on a benefit who is afraid to get on a bus in case she sits next to someone infected and then has to isolate. It's not the virus she's afraid of, but who will look after her cat? Ask the guy whose house isn't secure, who knows that if he is quarantined he will return home to find his valuables stolen.
Covid is worsening inequality. People who live in the margins don't always register their dog, or they do a few cash jobs. Maybe they have more people living in the house than allowed. Covid isolation looks like more trouble for them than the virus.
Labour deserves credit for listening to health experts and making sure earners still get a wage. National has failed so far to shift the election from Covid to 'Rebuild'. In comparison, US President Donald Trump, who is leading a country with the most Covid deaths, has remarkably got people talking about law and order.
Experts are sceptical he has clawed back support but at least you can see the strategy. What's National's? A garbled billboard, a tube of toothpaste, and a bark at a new passing car every day.
If Labour or National want to govern for all New Zealanders after October 17, then they need to govern also for people who have neither financial nor intellectual capital - working people.
What if you're never going to be the entrepreneurial child of a refugee - you're simply the son or daughter of a refugee? What if you're not the working class kid who gets a degree and goes on to run a company, but just the working class kid who grows up? You still deserve your share of the wealth you helped create, but this year you are invisible.
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That's why butchers and greengrocers were closed in lockdown while Pak'nSave stayed open. Large businesses have professional lobbyists. Officials mix with the owners at dinner parties. They don't mix as much with the Pacific and Māori congregation of the Mt Roskill Church.
The poor seldom come out of a crisis better off. Imagine if in 1938, when Michael Joseph Savage increased his majority, instead of creating the welfare state he promised a new holiday. That's where we are now.
• Josie Pagani is the Executive Director of the Council for International Development.
This is the fifth of a series of guest columns from five political commentators running in the Herald until election day.
Monday: Ben Thomas
Tuesday: Shane Te Pou
Wednesday: Richard Prebble
Yesterday: David Cormack