To get to an 8.30 meeting in Wellington this morning I could have got up at 4.45 (which thanks to daylight saving would have felt like 3.45), to drive for a couple of hours to fly from Timaru, fly back this evening and get home after 9pm.

Instead I flew up yesterday and as a bonus was able to go to the Backbencher pub for the filming of Back Benches.

Walking into a strange pub alone is a challenge for an introvert, but Matthew, a Young Nat, started chatting to me while I waited at the bar to order a drink, I then spotted David Farrar of Kiwiblog who was sitting with Will from goNZofreakpower. While I’m dropping names, we were joined by B.K. Drinkwater and a journo turned ministerial press secretary, whose name I won’t drop in case he prefers to remain anonymous.

Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson was there with Dairy section chair Lachlan McKenzie and High Country chair Donald Aubrey.

It’s parliamentary recess and the only MPs I spotted were those on the panel – Wairarapa MP John Hayes from National, United Future’s Peter Dunne and Labour’s Chris Chauvel.

They discussed whether or not New Zealand should become a republic – all three said yes and Will also gave a a considered view in support of that.

A discussion on cycling safety followed then Don got a soap box spot. He spoke on the ETS to which the people at the red tables showed their opposition.

Labour MP Sue Moroney spoke on her plan to increase paid parental leave. That was supported by Peter Dunne & Chris Chauvel but John Hayes pointed out that when we’re already borrowing so much to keep the country going, increasing paid parental leave is unaffordable.

A quiz question seeking the name of an MP went through several clues before a team effort at our table got it – David Farrar called out the answer and was presented with a photo of the Queen signed by the panelists. When asked what he’d do with it, he said he’d use it as a beer mat.

There weren’t many opposing voices but mine was one of them. I oppose it on principle – it’s the only benefit which gives more to people who have most. Women on the maximum wage gets the maximum payment, those on the minimum gets the minimum and women who don’t work enough hours a week, if at all,  get nothing regardless of how low the family income is. It’s a benefit which isn’t based on need.

Filming finished with the panelists speaking straight to camera. Peter Dunne patted himself on the back for extending daylight saving – I resisted the temptation to tackle him on that.

I’ve watched the programme a couple of times, being there was much more fun.

4 Responses to Backbenches

  1. rayinnz says:

    I am disappointed that you did not tackle Peter Dunne on daylight saving or rather you didn’t give him a smack for forcing us, in the south, to get out of bed in the dark
    I presume you were there in a semi-official position (wearing a blue hat?) and consquently had to be slightly restrained


  2. Great to meet you, HP.


  3. Sus says:

    Hi HP .. Peter Dunne bugger all would have to pat himself on the back; he’ll be waiting until, er, the cows home for anyone else to do so …

    And re Sue Moroney’s “plan to increase PPL”: only a bona fide socialist would call for increased govt spending, particularly in this economic climate — the left once again showing its fiscal cluelessness.

    However, I’m disappointed that you oppose PPL for the reason you provide.

    I’m morally opposed to it because it requires Peta to pay for Pauline’s baby. Is it *so* absurd to believe that Pauline should raise her own child?


  4. homepaddock says:

    “Great to meet you, HP.” – and great to meet you and put a face to your blog too, Will.

    “I’m morally opposed to it because it requires Peta to pay for Pauline’s baby. Is it *so* absurd to believe that Pauline should raise her own child?”

    I’m with you on this Sus. Looking after ourselves, and our children, should be our own responsibility. In a perfect world that’s how it would always be. Given it’s an imperfect world I accept there’s a place for benefits for people in genuine need but PPL doesn’t address genuine need.


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