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It's_My_PartyWanted: entour­age to help cel­eb­rate mile­stone birthday.

Stream­ers, party hats and liquor provided.

Applic­a­tions now open.

I’m reluct­ant to blame the gov­ern­ment for all life’s troubles, but in this case it really is John Key’s fault. You see, for the last three dec­ades, 20 Septem­ber 2014 has been set aside for my big birth­day bash. I turn 30 two days earlier.

That night, I was plan­ning to cor­ral my friends in one room and force them to tell me, in detail, how I’ve touched their lives. I’ve been prac­tising in the mir­ror that look that just man­ages to say “shucks, thanks” without pre­ma­turely end­ing the flat­tery I secretly think is long over­due. I’d checked the cal­en­dar and thanked the god of rugby that he’d blessed me with the one Sat­urday free of an All Black game.

John Key checked the cal­en­dar too. He spot­ted the one rugby-free Sat­urday too. He got in first. He reserved my Sat­urday as his elec­tion day.

I can’t go up against elec­tion day. All my Wel­ling­ton friends and I are out-of-town work­er bees drawn to the hon­ey­pot at the end of Lamb­ton Quay. Our lives are dic­tated by the polit­ic­al sea­sons. On elec­tion night my friends in the Bee­hive will be munch­ing through their fin­ger­nails in front of a bank of TVs. My friends over in the gov­ern­ment depart­ments will be drunk by 4pm from the sheer men­tal tur­moil of try­ing to decide which is the worse pro­spect: anoth­er three years under that troll min­is­ter or the new-boy swag­ger of the poten­tial replace­ment. My media friends will be scattered from Black­ball to Par­nell, spit­ting into their micro­phones. I’ll be out there too, some­where, far away from home.

If I could throw my party, it’d be a good one. My last big birth­day — my 21st — was… oh that’s right. There wasn’t one! The politi­cians stole that too. It was 2002. Helen Clark was PM. She called the elec­tion for the day before my birth­day. I should’ve been suf­fer­ing my way through embar­rass­ing par­ent­al speeches, doing too many shots, head­ing to town with squeal­ing girl­friends try­ing to act adult and sexy before one of us inev­it­ably stumbled in mummy’s high heels and had to be taken home. That should’ve happened.

Instead, I spent the even­ing in a too brightly lit hall covered in red stream­ers with Blu-tack oil seep­ing through. I bumped too much of my body against crowds of Young Labour, sweaty with the thrill of being in the same room as the woman they’d lis­ted as ‘per­son­al hero’ on their Myspace pro­files. I turned 21 at midnight.

Still, I learnt one thing that night. I learnt that life is a whole lot cheap­er if your big dates coin­cide with major polit­ic­al events. So, as I said: entour­age wanted to cel­eb­rate mile­stone birthday.

Stream­ers, party hats and liquor provided.

Ven­ue? Well, we’ll be wherever John Key’s booked for his elec­tion-night party, of course. That’ll teach him.

Heather du Plessis-Allan

Heather is a Jafa who's called Wellington home for seven years and counitng. The wind still drives her crazy, but the bucket fountain still makes her smile. She's running around Oriental Bay and learning to surf Lyall Bay. Her day job is reporting for TVNZ's Seven Sharp.

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