Radiation by Fiona Rae

Owhuku 2

Good evening gentlemen, it is a pleasure to return to Owhuku. A year ago, I argued that all New Zealanders should have the same rights, regardless of race, creed, religion or hairstyle. This year, I am here to outline another threat to hard-working New Zealanders.

The Notional Party has uncovered a deeply entrenched system that provides too many handouts to those that least deserve them. I am of course talking about the C-list celebrities, fashionistas, PR trouts, ad company executives, media hacks, radio personalities, lingerie models, so-called “uber-high flying tele-types”, “local stars”, “chick-mag presenters” and the various lollygaggers, hangers-on and drummers who receive benefits above and beyond any that the ordinary New Zealander could hope to receive.

The types of benefits and freebies I’m talking about are wide and varied; clearly it’s a gravy train that is careering out of control. Many of these people are long-term beneficiaries and have made a lifestyle decision in which they enjoy something for nothing – indeed that they should actually celebrate the fact.

Invitations to the opening nights of gala events, movies, theatrical performances, fundraisers, exhibitions and awards ceremonies; free clothing; free passes backstage to concerts and the like; free corporate boxes and tents; and even free holidays are not uncommon for this group of New Zealanders, as are promotional parties to launch anything from hair products to cars. Often these parties are little more than excuses to binge drink and behave in a manner that ordinary, decent New Zealanders find abhorrent.

Indeed, in some extreme cases, the beneficiaries of such largesse are actually paid by magazines to have weddings or babies. Even more incredibly, some media outlets celebrate the fact that there are a group of New Zealanders enjoying such a lifestyle – which may include free clothing, footwear, CDs and even alcohol – without having any discernable talents other than their ability to turn up and have their photos taken.

In a never-ending cycle of dependency, their exploits are documented by other beneficiaries in scandal sheets such as About Town and Metro, rubbing their good fortune in the faces of the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who work overtime or take second jobs.

We are sending absolutely the wrong signal to the next generation about what is needed to get ahead in life and are raising children who will think it is their birthright to receive free CDs and PlayStation games in the mail.

Worse, the past year has seen transparent attempts to disguise the real extent of the problem by shifting these benefit bludgers to another scheme – the so-called celebrity newspaper column – when in fact they have nothing useful to say to anyone and would be better engaged in community work. I do not deny that there are deserving columnists, but editors around the country have found themselves under pressure to approve such a transfer when in reality the beneficiaries do not meet the established standards of insight and talent that would entitle them to be paid money to share their thoughts. Shockingly, some of those to have taken advantage of this scheme are thought to be elected members of Parliament.

The Notional Party will move to reduce the numbers of people dependent on these handouts and take measures that will force those taking advantage of the system to actively pursue real jobs, such as designing underwear, presenting reality or home makeover television programmes or building inner-city apartments.

This would restore some much-needed dignity to those with limited skills and break the cycle of dependency for those with an addiction to this junket culture. In addition, we will move to stop the New Zealanders who have extra children and appear more than once in a woman’s magazine.

Ordinary New Zealanders should have the same entitlements as these freeloaders and Notional will ensure that they receive what they deserve. A redistribution based on need not on fame or image will lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence among ordinary New Zealanders, as well as real financial benefits when they offload their free stuff at Real Groovy or on trademe. Real Kiwi battlers, Notional has not forgotten you – if elected we pledge that there will be free stuff, parties with Deutz on tap and fashionable clothing for everyone.