Politics at the pub in Queenstown


Politics came to the pub in Queenstown last night (Thursday).

An episode of TVNZ 7’s Back Benches was filmed at the Pig and Whistle bar – and Queenstown issues on the agenda included the share deal with Auckland Airport, the dire state of some health services and the high cost of living in the Wakatipu.

The show hosted by political junkies Wallace Chapman and Damian Christie, feeds off live participation from the audience – which included mayor Vanessa van Uden and Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt. MPs on the show were ACT’s Hilary Calvert, Green’s David Clendon, Labour’s David Parker and National’s Jacqui Dean. 

Longtime Queenstowner Wayne Perkins stole the show with a seriously funny diatribe filmed earlier in the day when Chapman and Christie went for a walkabout downtown.

TVNZ publicist Juliana Kluts says the Back Benches crew love bringing their “pub politics mix” to as many Kiwis as possible. 

“All of our specials have tremendous success in debating topics relevant to the region with MPs, business owners and locals. So as long as there are political debates brewing, we’ll aim to shine a light on it,” she says. 

Back Benches first screened back in May 2008 and is normally filmed live in Wellington’s Backbencher pub across the street from Parliament. 

The show is on a South Island tour and now heads to Akaroa. 

If you weren’t at the Pig, you can see the Queenstown episode – screening on TVNZ’s 7 channel – on Wednesday, January 19, at 9.10pm.