Chewed up and spat out at the age of 27 - like a mouthful of fine chewing tobacco - National MP Todd Barclay no doubt has a bright future in the tobacco lobby, from whence he came, and back to where he can return, to selflessly argue the case for cancer as freedom of expression.

I did some research. This politician-savant-prodigy-wunderkind - think of him as Doogie Howser, MP - this sapling, who discovered yesterday that his seat in Parliament (the safest National seat imaginable) was in fact a James Bond ejector seat, only turned 27 this month.

Cough. Twenty-seven.

Let me put that in perspective.


Taylor Swift is six months older than Todd Barclay. Born in 1989, the title of her last album, she turned 27 in December.

Now, I don't know how many policy decisions you'd delegate to Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift's experiences include a succession of break-ups (not that she'd ever bring them up.)

Yet, here in New Zealand, some 27- year-old kid - who won his sweet gig at the age of 24! - this child, who would look to Taylor Swift and see an older woman, was (is?) in our House of Representatives, supposedly applying his still developing brain cells to issues that affect the public good.

What the hell were we thinking? This is what happens when we allow toddlers to enter politics.

Like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, Todd Barclay decided to set up booby traps, but unfortunately his were illegal recording devices.

Would we want Macaulay Culkin in our Parliament? Would the people of Balclutha want 10-year-old Michael Jackson as their MP?

Let me throw this out there. I propose a new law: you can't enter politics if you're younger than 30. Below that age, you only get to enter Junior Politics.

Age-grade politics, where the issues you get to argue about are things like flavours for new lollies, or filter colours on Instagram, or maybe the hemlines on school uniforms.


Adult stuff gets left to adult politicians. I want politicians who have lived a little.

Am I just an old fogie, out of touch?

Back in the day, politicians were young if they were in their early 40s. Muldoon wrote about being a young turk when he was 53. (Kids, ask your parents.)

Back in the day, everyone was 40. Movie stars were 40. Humphrey Bogart was born 40.

We don't want politicians who are the age of pop stars or fashion models. We want politicians who are the age of the people who take advantage of pop stars and fashion models. We want politicians to be the age of Simon Cowell.

Sure, in sport and music, being young works. Lydia Ko and Lorde, both 20, fine. But politics? No. (Here's what life experience gives you: it's not that unusual to buy different drinks at the same bar. Happens all the time. I do it just for myself.)

Take one high-profile example: Chloe Swarbrick, 23, soon to be 24 - you know someone's young when you count the months - ran for Auckland's mayoralty aged 22.

Now, I hope this isn't taken personally. (Especially if Chloe goes on to become massively powerful.)

Twenty-two is a great age, for one massive reason: you no longer have the stigma of saying you're 21. Twenty-two is a great age to be an entry-level graduate. But a 22-year-old running Auckland?

I don't care how good you are at Minecraft, city planning isn't something you can be a prodigy at. I'm not saying all 22-year-olds should be interns, but I'll have mine black, with one sugar thanks.

Would you leave a 22-year-old in charge of restaurant kitchen? A container ship? I'm not sure they can rent a car yet.

I can imagine a 22-year-old teacher, but I don't think a 22-year-old should be the principal of a school. I can imagine a 22-year-old nurse, but not a 22-year-old running a hospital. So why would anyone want a 22-year-old to be Mayor of Auckland?

Granted, older folks have made the world the way it is; and that's way imperfect. Older politicians, one after another, decade after decade, are the reason there's no train to the airport in Auckland. Duh.

But the energy and hormones and glistening skin shouldn't be mistaken for having a clue.

I bet even Jesus only started making sense at 30.

Before then, he was probably chugging beers, which had recently been water.