Wellington seemed much more alive today, probably because it was a Saturday. However rather than hitting the shops look at stuff I couldn’t afford or carry (you forget you have to carry anything you buy with you around the world), I decided to sign up to a free tour of the NZ parliament for later in the day.
Now the design of the NZ parliament is an acquired taste. The building is known the ‘Beehive’, but quite frankly I think it looks like Dalek with a meth problem.
On the other hand, the beautiful Parliament Library building looks like this:
After signing up for the tour and doing all the usual security checks, I exited the building and to my surprise, I was greeted with a small (around 10) group of protesters wielding a number of mostly black banners with what I think were skull logos with ‘RWR’ above them. I gathered they were some sort of neo-nazi white supremacist group, and a quick google later revealed that the ‘RWR’ meant ‘Right Wing Resistance’, which confirmed my suspicions.
Two things struck me about this display of stupidity. Firstly, it was so strange to actually encounter neo-nazis. It’s just one of those things that you don’t physically see day to day. Secondly, at what point do you, as a neo-nazi, look at your BLACK banners with GOTHIC text and SKULLS and not think ‘Are we the baddies?’ Not that all black, gothic, and skull stuff is evil. But in politics, it probably is.
As security began to move them away, I did a Ross Kemp on Gangs and got out of there ‘before things kicked off’.
Upon returning later for my tour, I wondered if they would still be there, but by the time I got back the Beehive they had disappeared, and I was free to enter the building. The parliament tour itself turned out to be rather interesting, though I suppose it helps having studied political systems and being a bit of a geek. Different to the UK system, the NZ parliament has no upper chamber, and voters vote separately for the party in control and their local MP, which seems to me like a good way of doing things.
Something I have always wondered is how many introverts there are in politics. On paper, extroverts seem to be the ideal, but listening is also an important part of being a politician. I wonder what the relationship is between the popularity of a politician and their personality type.
As well as politics, the tour guide also discussed the earthquake-proofing of the building, including the base-isolators, which technically speaking, dramatically reduces the wibbly-wobbly dynamic in the event of an earthquake. Earthquakes, much like quicksand, are one those things that you think are going to be much more of a problem throughout your life. Southern England doesn’t get many of those.
After the conclusion of the tour, I headed back to the hostel for a bit before going out to meet some Stray bus people who were in Wellington for the night. It was good to see my Austrian friend Veronika and to find out how the deep south of the South Island was. Apparently I didn’t miss much as it rained the whole time, which made me feel slightly smug. Well, quite smug.