Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was supposed to visit Coe’s Ford on the Selwyn River to talk about the party’s water tax.
She didn’t show up.
Ms Ardern’s office pulled the plug on the visit, with a message to media saying: “With regret we have had to cancel the Coe’s Ford media event with Jacinda Ardern, due to flooding”.
However when Newshub arrived, the river wasn’t flooded or flooding at all. . .
Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the only Labour no-show.
Federated Farmers had hosted a meet-the-candidates meeting in Wanaka last Friday.
Labour’s candidate didn’t show up and didn’t have a stand-in.
The Green candidate didn’t show up either but did have a stand-in, MP Eugenie Sage.
She was asked how the water tax would be used to make water cleaner, she couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.
She was asked why farmers who are doing everything right should be taxed to clean up waterways that other people have degraded. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.
She was asked why farmers should be taxed to clean up urban waterways. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.
I ran into the Labour candidate when I went to vote on Monday.
I asked her how campaigning was going. She said it was busy and Waitaki was a huge electorate.
I said I knew that, adding that I’d been at the Wanaka meeting and noticed she hadn’t.
She said she had to pay all her own expenses and couldn’t afford to go.
I’ve since learned that neither she nor the Green candidate went to meetings in Cromwell, Fairlie and Waimate.
It’s not easy campaigning in seats you have no chance of winning and it’s both harder and more expensive in the rural seats which cover such a big area.
But the no-shows could also be seen as a reflection on how little respect Labour and the Green Party have for the regions and rural issues.