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February 26, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer and Politics

Throughout the ages, beer has provided the social and political lubricant which has kept the wheels of power turning.

In the political spirit of this issue, we asked local Members of Parliament to pick their favourite beer and favourite Wellington bar. The replies are presented in the order they were received.

New Labour List MP Charles Chauvel’s reply began “when I grow up I want your job.” He acknowledged that while “it would probably be PC for me to mention a New Zealand beer”, his favourite was the Belgian classic Chimay Blue – “I just find the taste hard to match.” In his self-professed “old age” (37), he can pretty much take-or-leave bars but does have a fondness for Floriditas, Capitol and Nikau.

Sue Kedgley, Green List MP, describes herself as “more of a wine person but I am partial to Gisborne Gold.” Her best bar is the Beatles-themed Cavern because it plays sixties music, is cozy in winter and you don’t have to shout.

National List MP Mark Blumsky has no hesitation in picking Tuatara Pilsner as his beer of choice – “I just love the fact it is fresh, full-flavoured and local!” He nominates the refurbished St. John’s Heineken Hotel as the best watering-hole, saying that “seeing a hundred people enjoying the sun and a beer on the patio is spectacular.”

The first Minister of the Crown to reply was Hon Peter Dunne, MP for Ohariu-Belmont and leader of United Future. His favorite beers are Heineken (“because of the smooth taste”), followed by a Guinness (“because it is a meal in itself”). He is quite definite that all the best bars are Irish and his preference in Wellington is the Black Harp.

The next respondent was senior Labour Cabinet Minister and Hutt South MP Hon Trevor Mallard. He nominated Monteith’s Radler as his favored tipple because “it’s fresh and light with a bit of spice”. His pub of choice is The Backbencher because “it’s my work local.”

Although about to embark on a very, very late OE, out-going Wellington Central Labour MP Marian Hobbs professes her love for “heavenly” Hoegaarden and Monteith’s Summer Ale. She has no favourite bar as such (“I prefer to do most of my drinking in the privacy of my own home with consenting adults”) but adores Zibibbo’s.

Parliament’s newest MP is National List member Katrina Shanks. She chose Monteith’s Original because “it is a nice easy ale to drink in summer or winter” and gives her tick to The Roundabout pub in Tawa because of its “outside area and great pizza.”

Shadow Attorney-General and National List MP Chris Finlayson picked “Budweiser, but only the Czech version as I believe the US version is poison.” His favorite venue is the evergreen Matterhorn because “among other things, their Sunday roast is outstanding.”

Rongotai MP and Labour Cabinet Minister Hon Annette King’s preferred beer is ginger beer and her favourite Wellington venue is the Grand Century Restaurant because “the food is consistently brilliant and the hostess is one of my favourite people.”

Hon Mahara Okeroa, the Labour member for Te Tai Tonga, did not reply.


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