Of course, the community’s expectations of journalists’ dress standards are generally low, but I think this is a fine-looking shirt and I’d be proud to sling a blazer over it and turn up to the press gallery at Parliament.
Expectations of MPs’ attire are higher – but even so, it will have come as a shock for many people to discover our representatives are paid a $5000 a year clothing allowance, on top of their salaries and houses and cars.
This emerged after the Demos rapidly back-pedalled on talk of using their clothing allowances to fund a court appeal in endless dispute over the Atiu by-election result.
I could buy a lot of $30 shirts with $5000. And I suspect deputy prime minister Mark Brown could buy a lot of pairs of shorts, for when his New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters next visits. (That’s what he controversially wore last time!)
A cynic (and I am not one) might question whether the clothing allowance is evidence of MPs’ fascination with form, over function.
There is a story of another political leader who paraded through town in his fancy new threads. Too scared to speak out of turn, everybody oohed and ahhed at this leader’s self-proclaimed style.
Until eventually, a young boy in crowd piped up: “The emperor has no clothes!”