Politics is a family-size row

01:43, Jan 31 2009
FAMILY AFFAIR: When Eddie Bowie (17, right) put up a Labour sign in front of his house, his father John (left) responded with an even bigger National one.

Eddie Bowie is too young to vote but that has not stopped the staunch Labour supporter going to war against his National-leaning father.

Eddie, 17, put up a sign advertising Labour Wellington Central candidate Grant Robertson outside the family's Karori home but was shocked to come home from school and see it dwarfed by a Stephen Franks National Party hoarding, care of his father, John Bowie.

"I thought I had done pretty well but Dad's sign was eight times the size. I was in disbelief. I had a hammer and screws and he got a builder in," Eddie said.

"I told him the size of his sign represented all the secret funding National get."

And the election has seen breakfast and dinner time turn into endless political arguments to the dismay of the family's women.

Mr Bowie said he put up the National sign on democratic principle, to balance the feel of the household - much to the amusement of National MP Bill English, who lives up the road.


Though the pair were constantly involved in "robust" discussions, the 17-year-old still had a few things to learn, Mr Bowie said.

"He doesn't pay tax, doesn't have a mortgage. He has high principles and supports paying for things [the country] can't afford.

"He's incensed that he's unable to vote, so tries to influence friends who can. That's something I take great delight in. It's all very amusing."

Eddie, who met John Key last year and found him lacking backbone, became a Labour Party member the next day.

"I've got a couple of part-time jobs so do I pay taxes [but] we have a responsibility to help out people who are more vulnerable in our society. And what my dad doesn't realise is that our taxes come back to us. I've got two sisters at university who are not getting interest on their student loans."

The Wellington College student wants to become a lawyer before embarking on a career in politics, but swears his political leanings are not a rebellion.

Mother Rosie cannot wait for the election to be over and his swing voter sister Charlotte, 24, is under fire from both sides.

While Eddie told her the smart choice was to vote Labour or Green, plying her with endless pamphlets, her father was trying to "get her round" to vote National or ACT, she said.

"At the dinner table they get in heated debates which just go around in circles.

"Mum and I just try to change the subject, but Eddie never fails to get back to politics."


The Dominion Post