In the early years of my political involvement as a voter, the media gave gravitas as to how the Catholic Church would come to the process by way of a decision on who the church would support in an upcoming election.
The announcement would come by way of the pulpit as the clergy gave pastoral advice on the views of the head honcho who in those days was an archbishop before the appointment of a NZ cardinal. The other main pronouncement was from an editorial position of the editor of The Tablet the main publicity arm of the Church.
As a non catholic it was no more than a charade as I accepted that if a parishioner of the left footers mob needed pastoral advice on where to place their support then the church was possibly a reasonable source for such direction.
In those times the almost total electoral support for the Maori candidates in the then four Maori seats whose representatives were the voting bitches of the NZLP was mandated by the cult known as The Ratana Church. That fact seemed to be of little consequence either, other than an indicator of the control that church hierachy seemed to adopt as a natural function of their role in "guiding" their adherents.
In present times the Catholics dominion over their parishioners seems diluted by declining proportional followers and a higher level of political awareness and educational levels although dogma is still used in such matters as abortion, euthanasia and other remnant planks of their belief systems. The Ratana Cult though seems to have retained a much firmer grip on its influence in matters political among those involved in political decision making in maoridom, hence the cringeworthy spectacle annually played out in the little settlement just south of Wanganui where every politician both prominent and invisible makes the "pilgrimage". Such posturing is just as impressive as the recent "highland games" held at Hororata west of Christchurch in celebration of the Celtic heritage of some of the residents of Canterbury. The only political appearance there was the sight of Gerry Brownlie in a freekin Kilt and Amy Adams, the local MP who lives just down the Bealey Road at Charing Cross.
Don Brash, leader of the National Party was destroyed politically in part by The Exclusive Brethren, another Cult, when in the 2005 election that bunch who as part of their electoral activity decline to cast a vote, ran a pamphlet campaign in support of Brash's mob and the bumbling efforts of the good Dr to defuse the resulting brushfire ended what had seemed a reasonable chance to unseat the H2 party.
Recent pronouncements, on the way we fund some campaigns with money acquired by secular and religious bodies, all too often obtained under duress, " that only individuals be permitted to make financial contributions", has a resonance with me.
As for the annual media event that occurs at Ratana, John Key and his successors should cease giving it oxygen by attending, it is dumb and just plain embarrassing.
And as for Shearer spending TWO days there, I guess that is a measure of his desperation.