Its election time, our triennial chance to force our "representatives" to front up to us so we can question them and tell them what we really think of them. Unless you happen to be "represented" by the Prime Minister:
Politicians who want to share the stage with John Key at his only multi-candidate electorate event have been warned they shouldn't even mention his name.
Candidates vying for the safe National seat of Helensville include Laila Harre, leader of the Internet Party, who is taking on Key because ''the prime minister has some explaining to do'', and she wants a head-to-head debate.
But when Key lines up at the Kumeu Baptist Church northwest of Auckland on Monday, there will be no chance for her to do so.
So instead of democracy and public accountability, we have a charade: questions submitted in writing so they can be screened, candidates and members of the public forbidden to react on pain of ejection. And all to protect the Prime Minister from challenge or any show of opposition. While Key claims his office didn't set the rules, the event organiser is very clear they were set so tightly so he would show up.
John Key is afraid to face the public in his own electorate. He's afraid to hear from us, and afraid that one of us might say something that damages his carefully manicured image. And that speaks volumes about how fragile that image, and his ego, is.
As for the solution, fuck the rules. The meeting is already a farce; turning it into one live on camera will simply reinforce the fact.