There's no escaping politics in New Zealand, with only 20 days until the election. Whether you're a political junkie or sick to the back teeth of it, Wellington has something to offer, writes Wallace Chapman.

Wellington's best places for a political fix:

1. Theatre

There's always some good political theatre going on. I recommend Public Service Announcements: Stranger Politics. James Nokise is one of our best political satirists. September 12-16, BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace.


2. Tour of Parliament

Wellingtonians may eye roll at this, but for those from out of town who are unused to the institution on the doorstep, it is a complete buzz. I loved my tour of the Beehive when I was 14. Molesworth St.

3. National Library of Wellington

Head along and see for yourself the iconic constitutional documents that shaped Aotearoa, New Zealand, including the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition. Free admission, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. 70 Molesworth St.

4. The Green Parrot Cafe

Winston Peters' favourite haunt. Otherwise, just a great, long-running Wellington institution. 16 Taranaki St.

5. Backbencher Gastropub & Cafe

The Back Benches TV show started in 2008 so there's no better political fix than to come and watch the MPs in action over a pint on a Wednesday night (biased opinion here). Otherwise, just pop along to the Backbencher Gastropub & Cafe and eat your burger under the likes of Metiria Turei and Gerry Brownlee (they're puppets on the wall). 34 Molesworth St.

Wallace Chapman outside Wellington's Backbencher pub.
Wallace Chapman outside Wellington's Backbencher pub.

Wellington's best places to avoid politics:

1. Peter McLeavey Gallery

It's a small two-room space in Cuba St, but arguably the most influential dealer gallery in the country. It's an artistic icon without a doubt. 147 Cuba St.

2. Shepherd Restaurant

I've just discovered this pumping eatery. The menu is adventurous and delicious. The shiitake and eel with a miso broth is out of this world. 1/5 Eva St.

3. Golding's Free Dive Bar


My favourite bar at the moment. Warm and inviting, with lots of coloured lights and craft beer. No flash Auckland fit out, rather a spirited place where conversation is. 14 Leeds St.

4. Wellington Chocolate Factory

One of only a handful "bean to bar" chocolate makers. Superb chocolate and about as far away from politics as you can get. 5 Eva St.

5. Dumpling'd

Some of the best dumplings I've tasted anywhere. Eight dumplings for $8 and a very stylish joint. 39 The Terrace and 7 Boulcott St.

Wallace Chapman co-hosts Back Benches, Wednesdays at 9:30pm on Prime.