In hindsight, perhaps starting out with the most punishing episode -Young Act – of The Spinoff’s mini-documentary series on the youth wings of New Zealand’s main political parties was not my smartest idea. Immolating myself in my garage might have been less painful than that.
Youth Wings is a Quibi-style dip into the faces of New Zealand’s youth politics, or at least those who can stand being on camera; in the order of NZ First, Labour, the Greens, ACT and National, respectively. All this culminated in a half hour clip of a debate hosted by Toby Manhire, where the goal was more to see these personalities interact on stage than to gauge the future of New Zealand politics.
Cringe is an essential element of viewing, but it is still warming. Young NZ First’s faith in Winston Peters’ honesty can be seen as naive, but it speaks to the viewpoint of a region that has been utterly let down by successive governments. The respective dual-reps for the Young Greens, may come off as shortsighted in their insistence on rejecting Westminster parliamentary structure, but their empathy and commitment in long-term betterment for all is unquestionable. Even Young Act came off as witty and close to human at points, a testament to Spinoff’s editing.
Funnily enough, it was the reps of the small parties that seemed the most vibrant and connected to our political reality. Those with the greatest chances of influencing our future, Young National and Young Labour, were most concerning; to have no belief in anything but the party line, at such a young age, is deeply cynical and rather saddening.