Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Lyndon Hood: On The NZ First Chorus Line

On The NZ First Chorus Line

By Lyndon Hood

A greek chorus might have something to teach NZ First

I am something of novice reader of parliamentary press releases, but from time to time I see something that I am sure would interest even the most grizzled veteran. For example, I was intrigued to note that Winston Peters had written audience responses into his Budget speech:

So here is an Education Minister who put the future of thousands of our children at risk. Is he a weak link?

Everybody – Yes

Should he go?

Everybody – Yes

But wait there is more...

Here, I thought, is somebody with a high degree of confidence in his own importance. That, or a "leader" who knew he gave 12 other people their scripts beforehand. Maybe both.

In the end he sounded not such much like a consummate rabble-rouser as the guy leading the cheers for the ref. after the rugby. Over the course of six repetitions of the theme, it got a bit tired.

Peters may have opened up new escalation of parliamentary warfare. History will decide whether this approach best considered as well-organised interjection, barracking, or an evocation of the style of rally popular among other modern nationalist anti-immigration parties.

What I feel it lacked was a proper sense of theatre. For one thing, even unprepared audiences are capable of a far larger repertoire of responses than the "Nothing!" and "Yes!" that Peters credits them with. If I could suggest one classic example:

You see this Minister just doesn’t know which Tom, Dick, Yossef, Ahmed, Osama or Ying Tong is actually here...

Man with towel on head appears in the back benches.

Everybody – Behind you!

Man hides.

I don't see anyone there. Are you making fun of me? We have passed on many of these cases and...

Man begins sneaking up on Peters, waving a big curvy sword

Everyone – Behind you!

Repeat ad lib.

This approach has its limits; clapping-if-you-believe-in-fairies is unlikely to be popular with the bulk of the opposition, and while everyone could probably manage a "When do we want it? - Now!" then answers to "What do we want?" would show an inconvenient lack of consensus and could, in some cases, last for several minutes.

If, however, you are able to brief your chorus line in advance, the possibilities are endless. To get the ball rolling, I suggest, as an appropriate compliment to the tone - and indeed the layout - of the parliamentary theatre, an actual Greek chorus:

There is a party that brings New Zealanders – both young and old – hope for a better future. And when the election is over, this party will begin the process of putting in place its policy programme for the future. That party is of course New Zealand First. And the halls are filling all over the country because help is on its way.

Everyone – King, I say it once again,
Witless were I proved, insane,
If I lightly put away
Thee my country's prop and stay,
Pilot who, in danger sought,
To a quiet haven brought
Our distracted State; and now
Who can guide us right but thou?

That last bit's a quote from Sophocles' Oedipus. I've always said the classics have a lot to teach us.

****** ENDS ******

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news