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The new Great Race

Opinion Piece

Never mind the Melbourne Cup, we’ve got our own high-profile race here in New Zealand — Lightning Luxon racing against Simple Simon.

Having gained the candidacy for Botany, LL bolted out of the starting gate to surge well ahead of SS on the question of penalties for solo mothers if they don’t vaccinate their children. He wants to punish Working for Families parents as well. This is not well-thought-out policy based on evidence here, it is instead using emotion as a weapon to fire up National’s voter base of the righteous and spiteful. In this post-truth age we live in, facts are sadly irrelevant. But if they had bothered to find out they would know that actually those groups have broadly normal rates of vaccination. The problem of the hard-core anti-vaxxers lies in the white middle and upper class, but you wouldn’t dare touch them — especially as they are more likely to be National voters.

SS seems to have caught up to LL now but there will almost certainly be a stewards’ inquiry as it looks as though SS is trying to rein LL in.

So, who will win, the stayer or the bolter? No idea but I’m looking forward to all the side stories that will emerge along the way — for example, the views of LL’s pastor from The Upper Room. Crikey.

Bruce Holm