"Every billboard was vandalised. There was a real hatred of all politicians. The first thing everyone said was 'we do not have any Covid'." This was the observation of a managing director after he had visited his firm's South Island branches and customers. He went as soon as Aucklanders were able to travel.
Will it make a difference to the election? As both major parties are led by women from Auckland probably not, but it got me thinking.
If the leaders of the coalition were not all from Auckland - Jacinda, Marama and Winston, (Okay, North Auckland but his first seat was Otara) - would the Government have locked down the South Island for 41 days? There has been no case in the Mainland since May. The economic damage from the lockdown is huge.
A Government elected by First Past the Post where a third of the MPs represented South Island electorates would not have locked down the South Island.
Living now in Rotorua, I see how frustrating it is for the rest of the country to realise that the voters in South Auckland determined the Government. It is another reason there is so little enthusiasm for this election.
While on random thoughts about the election, the campaign shows the importance of words. The Finance Minister says the Government's programme is being financed by the "Covid Response and Recovery Fund". He says he has another $14 billion in reserve. It sounds very prudent.
National has said it will fund tax cuts by taking $4.7b from the fund.
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I feel like the boy who said the emperor has no clothes but there is no fund. The dictionary says that a fund "is a sum of money saved". There is no money saved. It gets worse. The Treasury pre-election update says the Government cannot pay for existing spending let alone all these election promises.
It gets even worse. Grant Robertson had the cheek to say "National's policy is desperate, irresponsible and unaffordable" because there is apparently a $4.1b error. The Reserve Bank is to fund the Government over the next two years by printing $100b. Today the Reserve Bank is printing around a billion dollars a week. If the equivalent of one month's printing is "desperate, irresponsible and unaffordable", then how much more reckless is printing 25 times that amount?
Both parties have adopted Zimbabwean economics. They are equally reckless.
When we are able to travel again, we will find no one wants our money.