Political projectiles through history
There's just something magic in throwing things at politicians.
You don't even have to dislike them. It's the sheer possibility of the thing - that an ordinary person can, even briefly, shatter the perfectly-maintained composure of one of our leaders. Anyone can throw anything. Even a dildo!
Indeed, it's basically part of the job. Labour leader Andrew Little admitted as much on Friday, noting "things get thrown at politicians, not just insults." And we don't have to rely on him - even Wikipedia has a "list of shoe throwing incidents".
But with so much to choose from, one must separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are our favourite political projectiles in history.
GEORGE W BUSH NARROWLY DODGES SHOES
You can't write a list about political projectiles without mentioning this, the most famous of throwing incidents. In December of 2008, just after his party was booted out of government by Barack Obama, US President George W Bush was in Baghdad for a press conference.
An Iraqi journalist wanted to make sure the embattled President knew that he was happy to see him go, so threw both of his size 10 shoes at the President, shouting "this is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!"
Quite a line, yes, but Bush managed to dodge both shoes.
COW MANURE HITS JOHN BANKS
The thing about throwing things at politicians is that it only works when the cameras are on. You need media to observe and eternalise your disobedience, or you're just a random radical nobody has heard of.
If your projectile is somewhat original - ie, not mud - you'll need some time to plan too, so knowing where a politician will be on a certain day is key. That's why Waitangi Day is such a popular time for projectiles - you know the politician will be there, and you know damn well there will be cameras.
But Waitangi Day celebrations will be crawling with security, and your target list narrows to party leaders and a few select MPs. This is why god gave us court appearances.
If you're a politician accused of a crime you really have to turn up - which is why veteran protester Sam Bracanov got a perfect chance to dump horse manure on former ACT leader John Banks on 2014. You can understand Bracanov's logic, even if you disagree with him - Banks would definitely be there, would likely have no security with him, and would definitely have cameras trained on him. All he had to do was find the horse manure.
Banks was later cleared of the charges by the Court of Appeal, but we'll bet that suit still smells.
MUD HITS BRASH OUTSIDE WAITANGI
This one makes the list for sheer spectacle. Throwing mud at politicians isn't new - especially during Waitangi Day celebrations. But seeing Don Brash, then leader of the National party, wipe mud off his signature glasses was something special. Take into account the context of the mud throwing - this was mere weeks after Don Brash's immensely divisive race relations speech at Orewa, and National's support in the polls was surging - and it's easy to see why this is a classic of political theatre.
LAMINGTON HITS JOHN BOSCOWIN
What is it with ACT party politicians and projectiles? This one is more weird than anything else. Then-candidate for Mt Albert John Boscowin was at a debate at Unitec when a student calmly stood, placed a lamington on his head, and then retreated into the crowd.
Boscowin kept talking, the sugary treat sliding off his head as he did. National's Melissa Lee wiped off his forehead when he sat down.
HONOURABLE MENTION - JOHN KEY AND A BUNCH OF FISH
As this protester didn't really get close to Key, and wasn't quite "throwing" anything, we can't really include him on our list - but the incident deserves a mention.
The year was 2014. PM John Key was visiting Waitangi. Tensions between protesters and the government were high. So high that one man attempted to dump a bucket of dead fish on Key.
The smell would have been bad, but the optics would have been even worse. This was only months after David Shearer had held up a dead snapper in Parliament, just days before he was forced to resign as Labour leader.
Luckily for the PM, the man didn't even get close - heads of state have extremely good security teams.