Trevor Mallard opens the door of his van and gestures with a cheery wave for me to hop in on the passenger side.
Flying out the gates of Parliament grounds, we all but skittle a stout little fellow clasping a laptop to his chest. Blogger roadkill, barks Trevor, fixing his wild eyes on the cars ahead on Molesworth Street.
Got a few jobs, he says. Few people to sort out.
A generation of children knows the arc of any Postman Pat story. The friendly country postman and his cat set off each morning to deliver the mail. Invariably he is diverted by the problems of the villagers and is prevailed upon to help them out.
There is usually a song to accompany the adventure. ‘Football Crazy’ is one. ‘Now it's time to put on a show’ is another. Also: ‘Fruity Feeling.’
The resemblance is uncanny. You can see it in the stiff movements, the jaunty red van, the fixed eyes, the way people inevitably turn to Trevor or Pat to sort things out.
All around the world, it’s the same. From Wales to India, Scotland to Iceland, the children have Pat, the grownups have some kind of Trevor. In Japan, the show only got to air three years ago. People say the television bosses there were hesitant because, like the notorious Yakuza gangsters, Pat has but three fingers and a thumb on each hand.
It was for similar reasons that the Fat Mexicans never came to New Zealand. Mike Moore warned us of them, but it was Trevor Mallard’s uncanny resemblance to a South American cartel boss that kept the world’s scariest gang at home, leaving the way clear for the Killer Bees to give themselves the most ridiculous gang name eva.
I have to ask him. We’re at Tinakori Road, idling at the lights. He’s so good at sorting out a mess; how in God’s name did he not see what would happen with the Electoral Finance Act? In a mere moment the lightness has gone from his face, and I am left with menace. He leans across, swings the door open and as the van begins to pull away he says in a slow, quiet voice. Get out. Now.