It hasn't been the most scintillating of election campaigns, but is it really necessary to rate the sex appeal of our politicians in an effort to enliven proceedings?
When David Farrar asked the question on Facebook, "Should a journalism school be asking the question of its students, 'what politician would they most like to fuck'," I thought he was kidding. But the link he provided backed up the poser.
Whitireia Journalism school in Wellington is running a poll on its online news sheet, www.newswire.co.nz, which asks, "Which politician would you go to bed with?"
Not all politicians are listed, but John Key and Phil Goff are there, along with Annette King, Nikki Kaye, Jacinda Ardern, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, Melissa Lee, Don Brash, Paula Bennett, Hone Harawira, Peter Dunne - and lastly "all of the above". Oh, how hilarious.
I'm not a prude. I'm not prissy. I'm actually considered an easy laugh. But I'm appalled, and I'm not sure where to start. If this was kids in a treehut, with Dad's sneaked ciggies and whisky, I might understand it.
But this is a taxpayer-funded tertiary education institute. This Newswire is published by Jim Tucker, the same Jim Tucker who, some months back, booted David Cohen and me out of the Facebook-based Kiwi Journalists Association because of our slightly off, light-hearted banter about Tucker's judging of the Qantas Awards and the Press Council.
Tucker - without informing us - deregistered us from the site because we didn't meet the high standards of his membership. Fair enough. It's his site, he can do what he likes. But obviously prurient thoughts about sex with politicians is okay, in his taxpayer-funded time.
So is this what they teach aspiring political journalists in our state-run institutions? Rating the sex appeal - or not - of our Members of Parliament? It's tasteless, obnoxious, and demeaning.
It reduces the politicians to objects of something to mate with. These are human beings with husbands, wives, partners. They have children, mothers and fathers. Whatever we think of their policies, they give up a huge amount to stand for Parliament and we owe them respect for that. Respect does not mean running a poll encouraging people to look at them in terms of having sex with them.
I just think it's disgusting, and Tucker should be ashamed of himself. Does he run secret little polls about his students, asking which ones (or maybe all of them?) tutors would like to go to bed with?
No, because that's a definite no-no in this day and age. So why is it okay to humiliate politicians in such a public and cavalier way?
So in 20 years time, when you wonder why the standard of political reporting has degenerated to the level of a Playboy centrefold, just remember this poll and weep.