It had been a long 18 months.
Michael Freeman had left Zealandia Media behind to set up the Democratic Party, that band of political outcasts. He’d taken a massive gamble, of course, by going into politics; challenging the establishment always is. Michael, however, felt that it was necessary, as he said when he launched the party in the winter of the year before:
“I can no longer stand idly by while both National & Labour destroy New Zealand, & I know I can’t do much from the commentator’s box. If I want to make the change I seek, I’ve got to get on the field”
It had been a very lively campaign; the Democrats’ mere presence ensured that. Michael decided very early on that he would not contest an electorate. Instead, James Creswell, a friend of Michael’s father, contested Northland for the Democrats while Michael toured the country attempting to get enough votes to enter Parliament as a list MP. The Leaders’ Debates were a big controversy, as TVNZ would not allow Michael to take part in them alongside Prime Minister Jennifer Anderson & Leader of the Opposition Andrew Marshall but TV3 did let Michael participate in their Decision ’23: The Contenders debate, leading to some rumours in corners of social media about Michael continuing to control Zealandia Media from the shadows, something he continued to deny.
Some Democrat candidates attracted controversy, especially some of the more nationalist-minded ones, such as Jordan Michaels, Hunter Wallace & Rachel Cross, with TVNZ & the Herald leading the charge against them. Facing pressure against them, however, Michael stood firm, & in fact defended them:
“You have called the Democratic Party a ‘band of political outcasts’. I happen to take a similar view. I acknowledge that we in the Democrats are an ideologically diverse bunch, & that some members have views that I don’t agree with. I’ll say this – if I was to purge every party member I had disagreements with, I’d be the only member left.
That said, I know what you’re trying to do here. You in the media are engaging in gutter journalism, dredging up irrelevant details of our candidates’ private lives to use against me & against the Democratic Party because you, like Labour & National, are scared of us, you are scared that we are coming to the level where we won’t be like every other ‘minor’ party, that wet won’t stand being marginalised by the two major parties, & that we are actually growing to a point where we will be able to challenge both Labour & National, a goal we’ve been aiming for since the beginning. You are scared, & you’re trying to stop us.
They didn’t. The last poll put the election in a virtual dead heat, with Labour, National & the Democrats all on 26%, the Greens on 8%, the Conservatives on 7%, ACT on 5% & Mana Maori on 2% & on track to win several of the Maori Electorates off Labour. That result alone would ensure that everyone would be waiting with baited breath for the election result.
Not that it mattered too much to Michael.
Michael saw the energy wherever he went, from packed town hall to packed town hall, from Kaitaia to Kaitangata, & from Bluff back to the Bay of Islands. He saw the energy, the restlessness, the mood for change. He saw the desire for change, especially after folks realised Jennifer Anderson’s promises of transformation were exactly that, promises, & after the Labour Party continued to neglect their nominal base of working-class folk & National continued to neglect the provinces in pursuit of their donors’ interests, the Democrats found an opportunity.
He spent the last day of the campaign in Northland, helping out James Creswell & his cousin Tautoru Arapeta squeeze out every single supporter they could. He spent Friday morning in Whangarei with Tautoru, where they had lunch together with their Whangarei candidate, Ben Thompson. After lunch, Michael & Tautoru travelled north to spend the afternoon campaigning together in the Bay of Islands, where they met James for their last meeting, in a park in Paihia. The three men knew each other well; both Michael & Tautoru had gone to school with James’ daughters, & both were friends of his eldest daughter Monica, & their personal relationship came across really well politically. As expected, the meeting went well, & they conducted their last walkabout later in Kerikeri before heading home, each one stopping in Westfield to grab a meal before parting ways, James departing for Amberdale & the winery, Tautoru for his grandparents’ place in Waikawau & Michael for Ashwell, where his wife Sofia & his parents were waiting.
I’m satisfied, Michael thought as he drove home, I gave my all, we gave our all. It’s all up to the people.
A press pool of four journalists followed Michael the whole campaign: Courtney Pearce with TVNZ, Isaac Lawrence with the Herald, Hayley Duncan with TV3 & Angus Scott with the Auckland Star. They all had followed him the whole way through, the ups & downs, the attacks, his berations of the media (of which, curiously enough, Courtney & Isaac made a big deal); they’d seen it all.
And now they were called in to an election morning breakfast in the kitchen at Ashwell House: hash browns, baked beans, French toast, bacon, sausages, eggs fried, scrambled & poached, pancakes, assorted cereals, & various jugs of different types of juice, water & milk, all laid out on the table with plates & cutlery at one end & the cups on the other end beside the jugs, laid out as if Michael (in reality Sofia & Michael’s mum Martha) had the bright idea to just make a ridiculously large breakfast in the hope that everything would be of someone’s liking.
This idea, of course, was correct.
When the journalists entered the kitchen, they found Michael, his wife Sofia, his parents, his sister, her husband Andrew & their twin sons Ronald & William, & Michael’s brother Charles, his wife Dana & their young daughter Isabelle.
They always did say Michael was a family man, Hayley thought to herself, briefly glancing at the heavily pregnant Sofia, then to the table, I guess he had to bring the whole family along; otherwise all this would never be eaten.
“Before we eat,” Michael began, “I would like to thank each of you, Courtney, Isaac, Hayley & Angus, for being here throughout these last few weeks. Having previously run a media company, I know all too well how important the media is to help a well-informed populace make well-informed decisions. I can’t say that I’ve made your job particularly easy; between the dustup in Wellington, the debate boycotts & all the craziness I’ve engaged in throughout the campaign, I at least hope that your experience has been somewhat memorable.
“Before we eat, let me quickly talk about what we’re doing today. Our local booth is at Westfield School, in town. I’ll vote there, along with my parents, siblings & in-laws…” he turned to his wife, “…I believe Sofia will stay here & set up the great hall for tonight. After that, I’ll head off for a while to clear my head,” he pointed to the clear blue sky outside, “today looks like good weather for a drive. In any case, I’ll make sure to be back before 5pm, as folks will start showing up by then. Any questions?”
Silence. “None? Good. Let’s eat.”
With that, everyone grabbed a plate, helped themselves to whatever they wanted, grabbed the drink of their choice, & filed out rather orderly (except the kids, of course) onto the deck to eat their breakfast.
Naturally, Michael & Sofia were last. Michael heaped French toast, several hash browns, two sausages & bacon onto his plate while Sofia went for cornflakes & yoghurt in a bowl.
Michael turned to his wife. “Would you like some orange juice, love?”
Sofia smiled, then shook her head. “I think apple juice would be better.”
Michael smiled back. “Wonderful.” He promptly filled the second cup with apple juice, then carried both cups & his plate outside.
Michael turned back while standing in the entrance to the kitchen. “You’ll be alright?”
Sofia nodded. With that, Michael left for the deck.
Everyone had sat down outside to eat on the metre-high stone blocks that ringed the deck. Naturally, Michael’s family & the journalists seated themselves separately, with the kids seated near each other.
Isaac looked at Michael’s brother. “Charles over there is an army officer.”
Courtney nodded, having just finished a mouthful of bacon. “I know. He served under Fraser Tremont, before he went into politics.”
“Did you manage to find out why he resigned from the army? I’ve been trying to find out for ages, but could never get an answer.”
“No. Every time we’ve asked, we just got the usual ‘he left for personal reasons’ nonsense. I tried to ask Charles before, he wouldn’t answer. He did tell me that he liked Fraser.”
“Interesting.” They both turned to Hayley & Angus. “What about you two? Did you get anything more?”
They both shook their heads, & Hayley spoke up. “I keep telling you, the Freemans are all very private people. Remember that magazine article about Michael & Sofia when they got married?”
They all shook their heads. “Exactly. These people do not open up at all about their private lives. Coming here, I can sort of see why.”
Isaac nodded. “Yeah, I can see why. I mean, Ashwell isn’t exactly an average family home, is it? This looks like an old English country house – it’s got a great hall, a servants hall, even two chapels, for crying out loud. And to think that all the big farmhouses around here are like this. No wonder we’ve never been allowed here before.”
Angus smiled. “You forgot the cars.”
Isaac continued. “Oh, yeah. The cars. A small collection of supercars, gas guzzlers all of them, a Land Rover & a Mercedes. I remember the Autocar article.”
The press pool & camera crew lined up outside Westfield Primary School, waiting for the Democratic Party leader to arrive. Unlike the other party leaders, he refused to vote early, explaining his reasoning while on a campaign stop in Christchurch:
“ Ever since we were children, Election Day has always been a family day for us. My parents have always voted together, & have usually been able to vote alongside their parents, siblings, & us, once we were old enough. Even as children, we always went along with them. I distinctly remember Mum handing me her ballot paper to drop into the ballot box in 2005, while Dad did the same thing with my brother Charlie. Having been raised this way, naturally we take voting seriously. Even when I was in university, I was still registered to vote up north, & six years ago I drove up north on the Friday night to continue our family’s tradition of voting together – if my sister could fly up from Dunedin to vote, then a drive from Auckland was no excuse.
Because of that, I will wait until the big day itself to cast my vote.”
First to arrive were Hannah & Andrew, without their twins. They exited their cars & proceeded to wait for the rest of their family, notably at some distance from the cameras. Next were Charlie & Dana, also without Isabelle. As Charlie got out of the car, his mate William Stewart left the polling booth.
“Charlie! Long time no see.”
“Hey, Bill. Yeah, it’s been a while. You just finished voting?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I have. Voted for Mr C, of course. How long are you up here?”
“Army’s given me leave until Monday. We should catch up tomorrow.”
William nodded. “Yeah, we should. Swing around at Balquhidder tomorrow morning, Dad will love seeing you. See you then, Charlie.”
Charlie smiled. “See you then, Bill.”
The journalists looked around & saw Dr & Mrs Freeman arrive in their Mercedes. They left the car & walked over to their children who were waiting outside the front of the school.
“When should Michael be here?” Hannah asked.
“He should be here soon,” Dr Freeman answered, “I guess he’ll want to make an entrance for the cameras over there.”
Michael, ever the Showman.
Charlie goes up to his sister. “$10 says Michael’s in the Aston.”
Hannah smirked at her baby brother. “$10 says he’s in the Dodge.”
“You’re on.” Having shaken on their impromptu wager, their spouses could only shake their heads in bemusement, while their parents looked on in non surprise.
“Those kids never change, do they, George?”
He shook his head. “No. No, they don’t.”
The relative tranquil early afternoon was shattered by the roar of an engine. The journalists got into place & the cameras started rolling as Michael pulled up in his British racing green Aston Martin, top down of course. In the spring sunshine, Michael looked every inch the billionaire playboy people had made him out to be before he married Sofia, an image Michael kept up because he found it hilarious.
Charlie tapped his sister’s shoulder. “Pay up, sis.”
She reluctantly reached into her wallet & pulled out a $10 note to place into his hand.
Charlie smiled. “Oh, yeah. You know that Aston is his favourite car.”
As the Aston came to a stop, Michael swapped his sunglasses for his normal reading glasses. He then unbuckled, opened the door & exited the car to walk over to his family, all of them waiting.
Mum spoke up. “You didn’t have to show off, Michael.”
“Trust me, Mum, if I wanted to show off, I’d show up in the Ferrari.”
As the Freeman family started to make their way inside, Charlie’s ex girlfriend Lisa Creswell left the booth & came across the Freeman family making their way inside.
Lisa smiled back at him, then to the rest of his family. “Hey, Michael.”
“Has your Dad already voted?”
She nodded. “Yeah. My parents came along this morning, & Monica & Archie should be coming later on.” She looked over to the cameras. “I’m guessing they’re for you.”
Michael nodded. “Yes. Yes they are. Well, we’d best get in & vote.”
Lisa nodded back. “Yeah. I’d best get back home. Good luck.”
Michael smiled. “Thanks. Tell your dad to swing around tonight. We’ve got an Election Night function at Ashwell. You’re all welcome.”
“I will.” With that, she gently walked past the cameras as they started to follow them inside.
The hall of Westfield Primary School was more than enough space to fit enough polling booths for all the Freemans to vote at once, but respecting their privacy, only Michael was filmed. After performing the obligatory smile & pose at the ballot box, Michael dropped his ballot paper inside & left the hall to go back to his car while waiting for his family to cast their votes, the cameras & journalists leaving with him.
While getting ready to leave the hall, Michael heard some kids hanging around outside.
“Check it out, it’s Michael’s Aston Martin.”
“Wow,” the other kids replied.
That sounds like young Noah & his mates.
Michael came outside & found Noah with a few of his friends. “Hi, Mr. Freeman.”
“Hi, Noah. Have your parents voted?”
He nodded. “Good. Have a good day.”
“You too, Mr Freeman.” Michael jumped into his car as his parents left the polling booth.
“You off now, Michael?” Mum called out.
“Yep. I need to clear my head before tonight.” With that, Michael started the Aston Martin & drove out of the school parking lot, in full view of the cameras.
It’s a bright, sunny day, Michael thought to himself, time to go & drive.
Michael could have driven anywhere; the Bay of Islands certainly has good roads for driving, & Michael certainly drove them when he could get away with it.
That, however, wasn’t the point of this drive.
I’m meant to clear my head, while I still can, & there are only two place places I can still do that – Ashwell, & Waikawau.
The dust of Freeman’s Road didn’t faze Michael in the slightest as he drove from Ashwell down the bay to Waikawau. As he came onto the straight before Waikawau Bridge, he looked out to the beach & the sapphire ocean beyond.
A good day for it. Truly a good day.
You know what? Let’s take the beach road.
Michael turned the car left to take the beach road; well, not a road exactly, more like a gravel track off the properly-done Freeman’s Road. In no time, he was at the entrance of Waikawau Beach on the Freeman end. Michael got out of the car & walked onto the beach itself, & the memories started flooding back as he walked along.
There’s where I kissed Katty when Selena wasn’t looking…there’s where I built sandcastles with Paris…there’s where us boys played war-games along the beach…there’s where all us cousins raced along the beach in summer…
Michael had walked halfway along to the large sandy area of the Waikawau “Delta”. Here was where we’d practice for the Holroyd Cup. I remember hitting the ball into the sea when I was 12 – Charlie managed to retrieve it.
He could see several figures on the Tamati end of the beach.
One, two, three, four adults, & a baby. Is that…
He headed over to his cousins standing in the middle of the beach. He saw them all: Tautoru & his baby boy Taramainuku, Frankie, Ash, Electra, all dressed weirdly casual & together on the beach.
“Hi, guys,” Michael turned to Tautoru, “I see you’ve got the same idea, Tautoru. You already voted?”
Tautoru nodded. “Yeah. I voted this morning, & came across these three at the booth. We’ve been here the whole day. You?”
“I just voted with my folks at the school, then I just drove off. Boy, are those cameras annoying. The journalists aren’t so bad, but the cameras,” he rolled his eyes, “I’m just lucky it’s all over.”
Ashleigh shook her head. “Not quite. There’s still tonight.”
“Oh, that’s right. You all voted?”
Everyone nodded. “Good. I hope the media didn’t give you too much trouble, Frankie.”
“They’ve been after me since I started doing The Showman’s Hour. Me being your cousin just made the scrutiny more intense. I mean honestly, my political opinions are not for the whole world to know.”
Michael remembered the intense response Frankie gave when a whole bunch of “celebrities” came out against the Democrats, & actually called on Frankie to come out against his cousin & repudiate his views & policies:
“I am not going to talk politics, my political views or opinions, or respond to these overly precious idiots who want me to join their mob. My political views are none of anyone else’s business, & I have no duty to disclose them to anyone. In any case, if I did oppose Michael Freeman’s policies, I would do the honourable thing & bring it up privately & in person, as you do with family.”
“Curiously, the hoopla has mostly been out of TVNZ & the Herald. Would you know anything about that, Ash?”
Ashleigh shook her head. “News is Katty’s department. I know I oversee all of Zealandia TV, but operational matters like that usually stop with her.” She turned to Michael. “I hope that was allowed?”
Michael rolled his eyes. “It’s only us here. It’s fine. Selena’s like that around me as well.”
Tautoru spoke up as he picked his son up off the beach. “I can’t believe it’s been a year since your Nan died.”
Michael looked down. “I can’t either. Especially with baby coming, I know she would’ve loved him. When Sofia & I got married, during her speech at our reception in Russia she basically told me I was a disappointment for not having a kid before Charlie…”
Everyone laughed hard at that one
“That’s Nanny Vic for you, no filter.” Ashleigh said, as the laughter was dying down.
Michael continued. “Sofia’s friends got a really good laugh out of that one, as well as her grandparents.”
Electra spoke. “You remember our Masterchef competition?”
Everybody nodded, then laughed. “Yeah,” Ashleigh replied, “and by the way, boys, all your meals were crap. Michael only ‘won’ because we had to choose someone.” Everybody laughed again at that.
Tautoru felt his son’s nappy. “Oh, time for a change.”
It was 9pm, & Michael hadn’t had dinner that night; he simply wasn’t hungry. Between his wife, now in her last month of pregnancy & tired, his parents, staying down the road at Westfield House, & the party members now starting to arrive, Michael was on the edge.
Irina walked up the steps into Michael’s private living room.
“Michael? You alright?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Just watching the result. You seen this?” He pointed to the screen:
“We’re in front of Labour?”
“Yeah. It’s been hovering like that for an hour. Also, Fraser is in front in Rotorua, while Rachel is pulling ahead in Tauranga & John Young in Otaki.”
Hayley & her cameraman stepped up into the living room to set up for the interview, & Alfred walked up the steps as well.
“Fraser is on track to win Rotorua, & Rachel is on track to win Tauranga.”
Michael smiled. “Great.” He headed over to the other side of the room, to the counter, to open the wine bottle. “Amberdale’s Finest – Mr Creswell’s treat. Don’t tell Sofia.”
Alfred looked around. “Where is she, anyway?”
Michael pointed to the master bedroom. “In there. She’ll be out in about half an hour.”
Irina looked over to the bedroom door. “How’s baby doing?”
“He’s fine. We’re setting up this room over here as a nursery.”
Hayley looked at them from her seat on the other side of the room. “Michael, we’ll be ready in two minutes.”
Michael turned to the two of them. “Hurry, let’s get the wine out of the way. We don’t want to look like drunkards on television.” Alfred & Irina laughed as they moved the wine bottle & the glasses out of view of the camera as they left the living room for the stairs.
TV3 crossed to Hayley. “We are now live with Democratic Party leader Michael Freeman. How are you feeling right now, looking at the result?”
Michael lit up, in a slightly drunk way. “It looks like an amazing result, & we hope it continues.”
“Yes. Well, if this result continues, you & the Democrats would storm your way into Parliament. Have you given consideration to supporting Labour or National?”
Michael emphatically shook his head. “Absolutely not, Hayley. I have made our party’s policy concerning the formation of a government abundantly clear. We will not sell our soul to prop up Jennifer Anderson, & neither will we let ourselves be screwed by a National Party that, at the moment at least, has hardly earned a mandate. Before we move on, I must say that tonight is a victory for MMP & a defeat for both the two main parties. Two years ago I, as owner of Zealandia Media, took the fight to the media establishment, in the process dealing a black eye to TVNZ & a bloody nose to the Herald. Now, as leader of the Democratic Party, the good people of New Zealand have given us an opportunity to do the same thing to Labour & National. For that, I am exceedingly grateful. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got a speech to prepare for in about 15 minutes, after which I’ll be happy to talk further. Thank you, & see you soon.”
With that, the camera stopped rolling. Hayley & the cameraman started to pack up to go downstairs. After the cameraman left, Hayley lingered a bit longer to engage a bit further with Michael.
“How old is this place?” Hayley asked, while adjusting her hair.
“Ashwell was built in the mid 1860s, about the time Major Freeman moved here. Over the generations, we’ve modernised the house while still retaining its heritage value.”
“Interesting. One more question: holding an election night party at your own home is a very unusual, perhaps even unique, choice for a party leader, even one with a sizable house like this one. Why here? I know you have a home in Epsom; you could’ve voted here in the morning, travelled down, & spent the evening there. Even if you wanted to stay up here in Northland, you could’ve held it at the Turner Centre, or even Westfield Town Hall. Why here?”
“You want to know why?” Michael pointed to his bedroom door. “Sofia wanted to be here with me, but being heavily pregnant it’s a bit of a mission. I’m just lucky the great hall can fit everyone. Now, you really should be off. I’m about to check in with Sofia before I come down.”
“Alright. See you, Michael.” With that, Hayley left to climb down the steps, but not before she met his eyes for another quick gaze.
“I won’t be able to do it, Michael,” Sofia said, lying down on the bed, “it’s too much to walk all the way down & around, especially at this time of night.”
“That’s fine, I expected that. Would you at least be able to stand at the balcony of the living room? I think that would brighten their spirits, or at least mine.”
Sofia smiled. “If I can’t stand there with you, you can at least see me.”
Sofia nodded. “I can do that. Let’s go.” Within a few minutes, Sofia was dressed & tidied up, with her rather long auburn hair tied into a bun.
They walked out of their bedroom through the study into their private living room on the way to the balcony.
Michael went ahead. “I’ll just quickly push the seat over to the railing.” Naturally, the people gathered below heard the couch being pushed, & in seconds the room was silent as everyone stared to the curtain as it opened up, revealing Michael, wearing the same navy blue suit & white shirt he’d worn all day with the same blue & ochre tie he’d worn at almost all his political meetings, with the heavily pregnant Sofia. They both waved at the gathered crowd, who were so happy to see them they started cheering.
“MICHAEL! MICHAEL! MICHAEL! MICHAEL!”
Michael could observe everyone from his vantage point, & he saw them as he waved.
Mr Creswell, Lisa, even Monica & Archie. Even Mum & Dad made it up from Westfield House. Alfred, Irina, Tautoru, & all the rest.
I’m amazed they all could fit. Maybe Hayley had a point.
After a minute of cheering, Michael spoke briefly. “I’m on my way down, folks!” he then promptly left their sight while Sofia sat down.
With both TV cameras still pointed at the balcony, Courtney commented for the folks watching TVNZ 1’s Election Night coverage.
“This is it, everyone. Michael Freeman is about to speak. He is making his way down from his living room where he has seen the results coming in all evening, & what a result it is. 25.7% & 31 seats for a party that didn’t exist just two years ago. The Democrats have done it, they have stormed their way into Parliament & will cause chaos as they have denied both Jennifer Anderson & Andrew Marshall the numbers to form a government in an election that is truly one for the ages.”
The crowd roared in applause as Michael entered the Great Hall from the back.
“MICHAEL! MICHAEL! MICHAEL! MICHAEL!” The chanting continued as Michael walked along the blue carpet to the dais at the front, where the podium had been laid out & was ready for him.
Having made it to the front, he climbed the steps onto the dais & proceeded to the podium. When he made it, the mood in the room changed from celebration to euphoria. Michael could only smile as the cheering revved up another gear before starting to die down. As it died down, Michael felt the TV cameras in the corner pointing straight at him.
The eyes of the country are on me.
Don’t screw this up.
“Good evening friends, & what a good evening this is!
“I would like to take this moment to thank the good people of New Zealand who have become so sick & tired of politics as usual, who are fed up with Labour & National over promising change but never delivering, who have like me been banging their heads against the wall as governments come & go but things stay the same, who have become frustrated at how narrow political debate has become, who found themselves thinking the so-called unthinkable, & see in us an opportunity to hit the major parties where it hurts. As usual, & unlike everyone else, I make no promises to make everything better – even with a mind-blowing result like this, the reality is that we will not be forming the next government of New Zealand; in fact, a cursory glance at the electoral maths before I came down shows that neither Labour nor National have the numbers to form a government with a majority in the next House of Representatives. That means that, thanks to everyone who voted for us, we are about to enter some very interesting times.
“But more on that soon. Before I talk about that, let me just speak a little about how wonderful it was to travel around New Zealand campaigning. From town halls to farmers markets, from marae to speedways, from cafés & eateries to Saturday sports games & even public libraries, having in the course of the campaign met people from North to South, from East to West, life on the campaign trail has not only confirmed my eternal love for New Zealand & New Zealanders, but also confirms that I have made the right decision in putting myself forward to serve New Zealand & New Zealanders as I am able, & I am sad to say that such service is needed in a time such as this.
“Before I entered politics, I grew increasingly sad at what has happened to our country. Governments, dominated by both Labour & National, seemingly adopted a position of silence on important matters such as geopolitics, defence, national security, the continuing decline of our economy about which they both do nothing, & the slow but sure transformation of New Zealand into a nation which not only isn’t one, but has no sense of national dignity, such is the nature of our servility towards everyone, from the United Nations to the United States, to China, even Australia. They don’t treat us like an ally or even a partner; they treat us like a dog, like a slave. They expect us to blindly follow them into their madness, & both Labour & National eagerly push us into serving these masters gratefully.
“Well, I say no more. I say tonight, we start our road out of this mess. Tonight, we will start standing up for New Zealand’s interests, even where they conflict with those of our trading partners, our friends, even our allies. Tonight, we begin our march to Wellington from all over the country, to go to Parliament, to take our seats in the House, & cast fire upon the floor of the House against whichever government manages to be formed.
“That statement almost gives away the position the Democratic Party will take after the election in the new House. We see that, on the current numbers, neither Labour nor National have the numbers to put together a government that possesses the confidence of the new House. I know that one of the main questions, probably the question more people have asked me than any other, is about what we would do in exactly this position.
Here is the Democratic position – we will not sell out to Satan or Lucifer.
“We know what the major parties do – they will say they are cooperating with us in a coalition, but the reality is that, given the chance, they would screw us, they would marginalise us, they would happily take the kudos for all the successes while lambasting us for all its failures. Within three years, they would destroy us, & this moment, this moment of a genuinely multi party system, would be over, & we would continue on this current path unabated. We’ve seen the parties that have gone into government only to end up in the political graveyard; some have managed to rise again, but generally they’ve stayed dead.
“Faced with those odds, faced with that probability, why would we sell out to Labour or to National & be part of a government for three years & then get destroyed? Why would we save the very parties that we are here to destroy? I’m sorry, but going into government with parties that want to destroy us is something we will not do – we simply aren’t that stupid.
“In the days & weeks ahead, our caucus will gather to discuss our plan going forward, but rest assured, friends, the day Parliament opens, we will all be in the House, & we will be ready for war.”