Thursday, May 26, 2022

Parliament, But Make It… Sexy? – Meet the 3 Kiwi Women On a Mission to Make Politics Fun

Ah politics, the great divider and unifier, a surefire way to make a dinner party interesting – and something that affects us all on a daily basis. And while yes, it can be dull and at times frustrating, three Kiwi women are on a mission to make politics not only interesting, but sexy and even fun.

Yes, fun.

Is it doable? The three hosts of new Brodie Kane Media podcast Three Gals One Beehive reckon so. Former journalists Rachael Lyon and Elizabeth Hayes, and former Ministerial Secretary Aimee Crooks answer Capsule’s curly political questions below – and tell us why you should care what goes on in Wellington on the daily. But over a wine, of course.

In a nutshell, tell us what Three Gals One Beehive is all about?

Rachael:

It’s a breakdown of the big political issues of the week – which sounds all very serious – but we try to have a bit of fun while we’re at it because hells bells we all need a good laugh, right?

Aimee:

It’s ideal if you don’t pour over news and traditional media like the three of us love to, and if you want a more direct explanation than trying to battle through long winded, jargon heavy news articles. 

Elizabeth:

We want people to feel like they’ve entered a room, cracked open a bottle of wine and sat back to yarn with friends about the week that was!

What’s the sexiest thing about politics?

Rachael:

Winston Peters. He has a certain je ne sais quoi about him (and yes I had to Google the spelling of that which took me about ten minutes.)

Elizabeth:

Without a doubt David Seymour ….. I do jest. It has to be the drama. Legislation changing; people and parties convincing society they are leading them in the right direction, while Hikoi gathers outside on the steps of parliament. I guess there are just so many cogs in that great Beehive constantly churning and changing, which have very real effects on people’s day-to-day lives. 

Aimee:

Some days it’s like House of Cards, other days it’s like Veep!

What’s your favourite thing about politics?

Rachael:

The cut and thrust! I’m a naturally competitive person so I think the strategic, points scoring side of it really appeals to me. 

Aimee:

For me it’s the pace at which things can change – like the whole state of the country!

Elizabeth:

It’s like a good old soap opera. It’s soaking in drama! While it’s an interesting observation of human behaviour with the different tactical moves and power plays, it’s crucial to have even a rough understanding of the policies and the politicians who are shaping our world on the daily. 

Politics gets a bad rap for being dull and boring – why isn’t it?

Rachael:

Well if you watch Parliament TV (which I do when I’m on the rowing machine once in a blue moon) it can be bloody boring, but it’s the posturing around it and the fast-paced nature of the beast (along with the personalities involved) that spices things up.

Aimee:

It’s like a real-life chess game, but their words cut like knives. And if you read between the lines it’s a much longer, complex story.

Elizabeth:

When you take the time to look you find all the juicy goodness, the reasons why people are leading certain parties, the personalities and power plays within. Then there’s the grand history and the culture that has formed how we roll and react as a country. What’s not to like? 

What do you wish people would know about politics?

Rachael:

That it’s not the domain of the elite. When you spend time around politicians you realise they’re normal people who work shitty hours and get excited about a ‘gift with purchase’ just like the rest of us plebs.

Aimee:

What spin is and how to read it. It’s the best and worst thing about politics. Good spin is like a work of art in action, and it might infuriate you, but you have to respect it. Bad spin is just lazy and heavy-handed but gets found out pretty quickly. 

Elizabeth:

For me it’s not WHAT I wish they would know about politics, it’s that they choose to care about politics. Every three years we are charged with voting a party into Government. I have heard about far too many wasted votes, with people too scared or embarrassed to admit they know zip about politics, their local representative or even who they want in power. This is such a shame and if more people check out or run on mis-information we could be in a dangerous spot. 

To you, what’s the most interesting issue in politics right now?

Rachael:

For me it’s that little fecker of a virus which continues to dominate proceedings. Would I want to be the minister responsible for Covid – hell no!

Aimee:

It has to be how the government is ruling as the party that was so popular in 2020 it can govern alone. Ans the impact the swift and not-so-swift decisions being made on Covid, Three Waters and housing.

Elizabeth:

It would have to be covid and the Government’s management of this. Oh and the implosion of the National party😬.

If you had absolute power for a day, what would you do?

Rachael:

I’d pull the pin on Facebook/Meta to piss Mark Zuckerberg off and to stop people from hating on each other for a bit, then I’d make an executive order to prevent Trump from ever becoming President again. Then I’d round the day off by having a couple of drinks and reading through classified documents to see who really killed JFK!!! 

Aimee:

Make NZ terms four years – three year cycles are too short and too impacted by the campaign cycle. Then I’d decriminalise cannabis use and officially make the name of our country Aotearoa New Zealand to recognise our past present and future (bonus we’d be at the top of al the lists and flag ceremony!). 

And maybe whack in one more public holiday in August/September, it’s a long dry spell between Queen’s Birthday and Labour Weekend. 

Elizabeth:

God what wouldn’t I do? I would take a giant shredder and destroy the swaths of red tape around the RMA and get the country humming. I would kick Three Waters to the curb as it stands, go back to the drawing board with the Essential Freshwater Package, oh and of course bring an end to world hunger and Covid.

Who do you think is the best politician in New Zealand and why?

Rachael:

Any politician that actually reads the comments on their Facebook page – why people ‘like’ a politician’s page just so they can hurl insults at them, is beyond me. When you read the stuff that is highly personal its a pretty sad reflection on where some people are at.

Aimee:

I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by Chloe Swarbrick! She pulled off the unthinkable after everyone wrote her off taking the Auckland Central seat and she’s been an absolute powerhouse during this massive Auckland lockdown. From advocating for clarity for Waiheke resident movements and access, isolation rules apartment dwellers, getting more testing and vaccinations sites up for better access, you name it she’s fought for it and it’s really made a difference. 

Elizabeth:

Tough one at this stage. I think a stand out would have to be Chris Bishop with his on-point Covid opposition. But the best would have to be Dr Shane Reti, clever, quiet and humble, he’s been out in the field helping vaccinate Northland communities while fireworks are going off back in the office. He’s been a steady hand during a mad time. 

And finally, why should we listen to Three Gals One Beehive?

Rachael:

Because its good to be informed, its good to have a laugh and its good for our self-esteem to know that its not just our mums who are listening!

Aimee:

It’s a blend of information and banter thrown together kind like sitting around with your friends discussing the news over a wine! 

Elizabeth:

Come and have a listen, it’s a change of pace and not your regular dry political commentary… just three Kiwi gals ripping into the what’s what of the week over a wine. Actually we are a great place to come if you just want a one-liner to impress people at a dinner party! ….But seriously, if one person listens and becomes interested and starts a conversation with their friends about an issue, party or policy then I believe my job is done. There is no greater power than being informed. 

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