We donated a little bit so we could attend the recent kickoff fundraiser for our local MP Shanan Halbert. We’ve appreciated his relentless community engagement, we agree with his Labour Party ideals, and we admire the path he takes being proudly Māori and proudly gay.
The event was billed as black tie but only a few people actually wore tuxes / gowns (including our neighbor Gordon who looked fabulous). The most (‘best’ being debatable) dressed for the occasion was the drag queen emcee, a particularly pleasing choice given all the anti-drag nonsense in the US at the moment. They did a great job, plenty of good fun and kept things moving along.
We stayed through drinks, speeches, auction, and dinner, seated with a member of the local district council and some other randoms like ourselves. Shanan came by every table and spent a few minutes chatting with us. I think the most surprising thing was him saying that his entire campaign fundraising target was $45,000. It seems like there might be contests for high school Secretary that cost more in the US. When the band kicked off with a too-perky “Big wheel keep on turnin’” we made for the exit.
It will be a close election this time, a contest mostly about whose priorities get addressed first… can well-off whit’ish people have all the things they want the government to provide without more government spending and the tax increases to back it up? And will they still want all those delicious government goodies and tax breaks if it means clawing even more out of the mouths of less well-off less-whit’ish people? Or will they be ready to accept whatever strings are attached to cash infusions from the global equity markets or sovereign investment from China and the Middle East?
From where we sit, a more egalitarian country that focuses on lifting the bottom 20% is preferable to one that focuses on further enriching the top 20%. Go Shanan!!
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