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September 9, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

It’s a Jungle Out There

This week Salient takes a look at politics of the Animal Kingdom to explain the inner workings of New Zealand’s political parties.


Labour: The Chicken Coop

When each hen knows its place in the roost, this brood of hens will live in happy harmony. However, throw a cat amongst the chickens—or a leadership departure amongst the MPs—and watch the feathers get ruffled.

Chickens, much like the Labour Party, thrive on a strict hierarchical in which each individual knows his or her place in the pecking order. With a strong mother hen on the top perch, the others fall into place, dedicating most of their time—and rightly so—to hatching new policy, rather than leadership challenges. When the hierarchy is thrown into disarray, the brood becomes distracted as each hen and roo must once again vie for his or her place in the front bench.

While they may seem a harmless bunch, a distressed bunch of chooks is a force to be reckoned with—prolonged in-fighting can lead to pecking and, ultimately, cannibalism. RIP Poultry Goff and Drumstick Shearer.


Consistently polling leagues ahead of the other parties, there’s no doubt about it: the National Party are the human embodiment of a school of snapper—the animal New Zealanders are most interested in.


When determining how battles will be fought and won in the animal kingdom, it is common knowledge that, where one group of animals is more invested in a natural resource, the more they will invest in fighting for that resource—whatever the cost may be. Although the Greens may have faced the cost of political gaffes over this term (see: Hey Clint!, quantitative easing), their honest campaign for New Zealand’s natural resources has rings true with an increasing number of voters.

New Zealand First: The Wolf Pack

Wolves, like meerkats, African wild dogs, and NZ First, are described as following a ‘despotic leadership system’, in which one member is considered dominant, with the other submissive members falling into rank below their leader. Winston Peters, with his tenacity and second-to-none ability to charm the elderly, is clearly the leader of this pack, who are bound together by their pack mentality: referendums and super gold cards.

Submissive wolves are ranked behind the alpha wolf according to their strength and ability to hold fights—you can tell a wolf ’s rank by how it behaves in Question Time or the media (see Beta Wolves: Asenati ‘Blow Jobs’ Taylor and Richard ‘Wogistan’ Prosser). On the bottom of the leadership rung are the pack’s omega wolves—those who the rest of the pack bully and care for the least, and may go it alone if pack tensions escalate (see: Lone Wolf Brendan Horan).


Mana/Hone Harawira

Mana’s Taniwha Hone Harawira is considered to be a fearsome guardian of the radical left in New Zealand politics, but is so rarely seen in Parliament that some believe him to be a mythical being.

ACT/John Banks

Just like the beagle puppies he fought tooth-and-nail to protect, John Banks is a dog of even temperament and gentle disposition. As a beagle, Banksy is easily won over by others—or their donations—and does not respond well to isolation (its been a long, hard, lonely term). Often trained as sniffer dogs, a beagle is hard to distract once it has obtained a scent—which explains Banksy’s doggedly determined campaign against animal testing.

United Future/Peter Dunne

Much like the Paradise Duck, this extremely territorial bird returns to the same nesting ground—his faithful Ohariu electorate—year after year. They say that these birds mate for life; once Dunne had set his sights on Andrea Vance, he was prepared to pay any price—even his ministerial portfolio—to woo the bird of his dreams.

Brendan Horan

The Lone Wolf (see The Wolf Pack, above).


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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