OPINION: There are lists as long as your arm of overseas celebrities (think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood) who have ditched the big screen or the sportsfield for the greener and generally less lucrative pastures of politics, but New Zealand's government is fairly lacking in shining stars.
It's also lacking the salt-of-the-earth, down home, sensible Kiwis who really run the country at a grass-roots level anyway.
So here's a list of fifteen people I reckon should be on political party lists for the next general election:
He's got youth, talent and humility... along with height... so who better to advise on youth issues than this giant-sized basketball centre. I'd even pick him for the prime ministership in years to come, after he's finished his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA. Oh, and he's obviously a decent bloke as well. Our Prime-Minister-In-Waiting?
She was our 'Mother of the Nation', although I'm not sure exactly who penned that phrase in the beginning (probably TVNZ's spin doctors). Judy is a class act and still attracts respect and love from the public several years after disappearing from our screens. Just for obviously abandoning her hair dye programme, she deserves to be making decisions on our behalf in Wellington. Perhaps spokeswoman on superannuation?
On behalf of all New Zealand women, I'd like to suggest Warriors halfback Shaun as an ideal back bencher. Not only is he intense, brooding and mysterious, but he's got a body that gets the pulse of us middle-aged matrons racing. The face is pretty nice as well, and his gorgeous concentration while eyeing up a penalty kick is simply sizzling. I reckon he'd be good as Minister of Hot Sportsmen?
So she's not really the irrepressible Cheryl West from Outrageous Fortune, but don't we all think that underneath that often sparkling exterior is a bit of the West Auckland character she's famous for? And that's what Parliament needs more of - salt-of- the-earth individuals who are loud, rough and proud to voice exactly what's in their minds. Minister of Westies?
As far as I'm concerned, Richie will be somewhere in the background of the second coming, mainly for being a decent bloke and the perfect captain with the best profile on New Zealand's sporting fields. But could we benefit from the presence of top leadership in the bowels of the Beehive? With those thighs, oh yes we could. Definitely Minister of Internal, External and Extra-Marital Affairs.
I've known this journalist for more decades than I care to admit, and her countless layers of persona give her incredible insight into multiple strands of society. She's also hugely loyal to Taranaki, and one of the bravest people I know, with massive empathy and caring for friends and strangers alike. So her sort would be pretty rare on the floor of the Beehive, making her a perfect spokeswoman on human decency.
Well, this broadcaster knows nearly everything there is to know about anything on the radio and telly each day, so he'd be just as know-it-all in Parliament, wouldn't he? Caucus would now have to enjoy his daily rant about how great the wife is and how hilariously annoying the tribe of kiddies are...and not his poor listeners and viewers. Sounds good, doesn't it! How about know- it-all broadcasting minister?
This tiny woman, recently separated from millionaire and international tycoon Kim Dotcom, would be an ideal list MP because... well... the woman deserves some recognition for having five children with the huge German. Need I say more? Minister for Women's Rights?
George (my neighbour next door)
What we need in Wellington are 'salt of the earth' people who understand what it's like on the ground floor of New Zealand society and business, so my mate and neighbour George is an ideal choice. He ran a business for nearly all his working life and, now in his early 80s, would bring character and truth to the Beehive. A great spokesman for law and order?
What Parliament really requires is someone who can whip up doilies or placemats at a moment's notice, so this 'Kiwi celebrity' mother would be ideal to rev up the troops during those long and boring sessions when those who know everything (like Mike Hosking and Trevor Mallard) go on and on about stuff. I hear Sally can cook as well, so there'd be muffins and slices for Africa. Minister for Handcrafts and Scrapbooking?
I know people have tried to talk him into it, but our district councillor Gordie's my pick for Minister of Fun. He'd tip Parliament upside down, let alone Bellamy's and would inject some good old-fashioned common sense into legislation. Mrs Brown would be a revelation as Minister of Finance as well.
Parliament is missing something - the wisdom of strength and the depth of courage, perhaps? Who better to offer that than the great Colin himself? This famous All Black captain knows what it's like to face a formidable foe, stare them straight in the eye and snarl. And that's just controlling the dogs on his farm.
She's the star of a hugely popular American vampire television series, is a mother of twins, an Oscar winner, a former New Zealander who acknowledges little of her Kiwi roots, and reportedly swings both sides of the fence. Can you imagine the fireworks if she sat down between Gerry Brownlee and Stephen Joyce in the Chamber?! Boy, would I like to be a fly on the wall for that one. She'd be perfect for Minister of Traitorous Expats?
Sir Peter Jackson
Our most famous of movie directors knows what to do and how to get the money together to do it. He's thoughtful and deep, and used to winning at all costs. He's also got lots of Oscars he can decorate the Debating Chambers with. Let's face it, that place needs a bit of a lift. Spokesman for interior design?
My brother Carey
He may be the spoilt baby of our family, but my brother takes an idea, thinks about it and then gets on and does it practically and competently. Next year, he is undertaking a 4000km mountain- bike ride in 42 days from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise $50,000 for the Motor Neurone Association of New Zealand and, while it will be hard, I have no doubt whatsoever that he'll do it. He's my ideal spokesman for innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Taranaki Daily News