Southerly by David Haywood

18

This Week in Parliament: 26 January 2015 - 30 January 2015

Public Address presents our weekly round-up of the important events in parliament.

NICK SMITH SHAVES SCROTUM FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Affordable housing is predicted to be a major political issue for 2015, but Minister of Housing Nick Smith insists that he is prepared to go the extra mile to help struggling families.

“I was turning over various possibilities in my mind, when it suddenly occurred to me that shaving my testicles might help,” says Dr Smith, who holds a Ph.D. in engineering. “It seemed a bit crazy at first, but it was a lot more sensible than some of my other ideas.”

Ball Boy Wanted

The MP for Nelson admits that it was a difficult subject to broach at the cabinet table.

“I had a very careful and tactful speech prepared, but then at the last minute I became flustered and blurted out, ‘Who wants to shave my balls?’ Luckily none of my cabinet colleagues were at all taken aback, and quite a few of them offered to help.”

Guy Races to Smith’s Aid

Minister of Racing Nathan Guy says he was “first out of the gate” to offer assistance to Dr Smith.

The uncircumcized former farmer explains that long experience with calf castration has given him the perfect set of skills to promote affordable housing. “Helping Nick is the sort of job that would give some weak-minded Labour party types an anxiety attack,” he observes. “But the way I look at it, I can’t do any worse damage than his parents already did when they made the misguided decision to have him circumcized. They’ve absolutely ruined him—it’s mutilation, plain and simple.”

Housing Trust

“Putting your vital organs into another man’s hands is the ultimate expression of trust,” says Dr Smith. “Particularly as Nathan sometimes gets a bit of a weird expression on his face.”

“But it’s really brought us closer together as colleagues. There are moments of awkwardness, of course, but laughter helps. Nathan and I like to say that if you’re not laughing hysterically while shaving another man’s testicles then you’re not doing it properly.”

Nick Smith’s Testicles Made Me Glad Grandma Died

Nathan Guy agrees that there’s been the occasional awkward moment during the daily shaving routine.

“As soon as I get Nick’s ball-bag cradled in my palms, my head fills with terrible thoughts. I don’t know where they come from—I’d never dreamt I’d be the sort of person who would have such bloodthirsty fantasies. Sick, fucked-up shit that I wouldn’t dare tell a living soul about. It actually makes me want to throw up sometimes.”

“I don’t know whether or not God exists, but Nick’s testicles have made me hope that he doesn’t. It would be terrible to think of my grandma in heaven looking down at me and seeing the deranged urges that enter my mind. The shock could very well kill her.”

Ball-Handling Skills

“I don’t believe in playing the blame game,” insists Dr Smith. “But—no pun intended—successive Ministers of Housing have really dropped the ball on the subject of affordability, and I’m afraid that even previous National Party ministers have been almost criminally negligent in addressing this issue.”

“Someone in government finally had to do something to help ordinary New Zealanders, and I’m proud to say that I’ve done it. I like to joke that I’ve really ‘put my balls on the line’ with this policy, but in a very literal sense I actually have.”

Dr Smith says that only time will tell if the policy works. “We’ve had hot weather recently, but if shaving your testicles is a possible way to reduce house prices, then I’m sure Nathan’s and my efforts will eventually bear fruit.”

21

This Week in Parliament (in Recess): 12 January 2015 - 16 January 2015

Public Address presents our weekly round-up of the important events in parliament.

TOTALISATOR UPGRADED WITH VENTURI ORIFICE STEAM TRAP

Despite parliament being in recess, there’s no holiday-making for cabinet rising star Nathan Guy. The uncircumcized former farmer and Minister of Racing is spending his summer break conducting the most major upgrade to the New Zealand totalisator since it was moved to the Baring Head Lighthouse in 1989.

Goodbye Inverted Bucket

“Voters tend to forget just how much hard work is involved in running the country’s totalisator,” says Mr Guy. “On race days, the Minister of Energy and Resources, Simon Bridges, has to rise before dawn to light the boilers and get the totalisator warmed-up for the morning meetings.”

Mr Guy describes the New Zealand totalisator as among the most sophisticated in the world. “It’s a highly complex machine that incorporates three boilers with sight glasses, more than 200 bourdan gauges giving totalisator readouts, as well as numerous critical auxiliary devices such as the theremin.”

“It’s a lot for Simon to keep his eye on while everything warms up,” he explains. “Replacing the pedal-operated inverted bucket steam-trap with a venturi orifice means one less thing to worry about. It just makes economic sense.”

No Trouser MIA

Running the totalisator can be exhausting for the Minister of Energy and Resources, who may shovel as much as 30 tonnes of coal into the boilers on some race days. But Nathan Guy insists that his own role is infinitely more difficult.

“My job as Minister of Racing is arguably the most mentally-challenging of all cabinet positions,” he asserts. “A moment of lapsed concentration while balancing the totalisator and the country’s economy could—quite literally—go down the gurgler. Many of my circumcized colleagues would be focussed on what’s missing in their trousers, but luckily for New Zealand I am in my natural state, and thus I can concentrate my full mental powers on the ‘job’.”

Biofuels: No Thank You!

Despite the totalisator’s hefty carbon footprint, Simon Bridges says there are no plans to switch to politically correct ‘clean’ energy.

“While, in theory, a fuel such as wood pellets could be used via a gasifier to power the totalisator there’s nothing like the smell of coal in the morning,” he explains. “It just makes economic sense.”

Sniff My Fingers

The Minister of Energy and Resources says that even when not working the totalisator he always keeps a lump of coal in his pocket.

“Then when some engineer or scientist starts going on about global warming, I just fondle the coal and surreptitiously sniff my fingers. It really helps me tune them out.”

“It also feels more statesmanlike than putting my fists in my ears and shouting ‘La La La’,” adds Mr Bridges. “Although, to be perfectly honest, I spend a lot of my time doing that as well.”

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: KEY EXONERATED IN CHARLIE HEBDO SHOOTINGS

Prime minister John Key released a statement this afternoon denying all connection to last week’s ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shootings.

“Although no accusations have actually been made, we felt it wise to pre-emptively clear the air,” says duty minister Steven Joyce. “The Prime Minister genuinely was holidaying in Hawaii at the time of the shootings, and he honestly had nothing to do with them.”

“If it transpires that there is a trail of emails linking him to Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, then Mr Key would like to emphasize that these emails were written as part of his normal duties as Member for Helensville, in which he engages in correspondence with all sorts of people. Otherwise the emails were written by his office—rather than the prime minister himself personally—and he was told nothing about them.”

In the press release, the prime minister adopts an apologetic and conciliatory tone, assuring voters that “I really am telling the truth this time” and expressing his confidence that he will be “fully exonerated when the true facts emerge”.

23

This Week in Parliament: 14 December 2014 - 19 December 2014

Public Address presents our weekly round-up of the important events in parliament.

PRIME MINISTER EXONERATED IN SATANIC EMAIL “MISUNDERSTANDING”

Another political firestorm threatened to erupt this week when a series of hacked emails appeared to show that Prime Minister John Key has been corresponding with satanic groups in Helensville.

“I probably am,” says Mr Key, who describes the emails as “completely untrue in every way”.

“It’s normal that MPs correspond with their constituents. I have email exchanges with lots of people.”

But the prime minister has doused any potential scandal by pointing out that he was holidaying in Hawaii at the time. “There’s no way that I could receive New Zealand emails from that far away,” he points out. “And that means I’m fully exonerated. It’s all just another misunderstanding.”

Ebola

Some left-wing commentators have raised concerns not only about the existence of the emails, but also their content, especially an email exchange which dealt with the politically-sensitive subject of sacrificing human babies.

In a message sent on 24th November 2014, the prime minister appeared to respond approvingly to the leader (or ‘CEO’) of a satanic group by saying: “Sacrificing a human baby would be such a rush. I’m often given babies to hold, and wish I could keep a syringe of live Ebola virus in my pocket just so I could give them a jab. Dunno why I want to do it. Kicks, I guess? At the end of the day the babies are asking for it. Hail Satan!”

Politically Correct Hysteria

But John Key has dismissed criticism of this email as “just the usual politically correct hysteria”. He says that daily exchanges of hundreds of emails, txts, and pxts with Satanists from Helensville is simply a normal part of his job as prime minister.

“I don’t recall sending that email—though you’d have to check with the babies. Could be that the ‘I’ in the email actually refers to the prime minister’s office rather than me personally. I mean, I guess I could theoretically ask my staff, but frankly I’m just not bothered.”

Noam Chomsky: “It Never Happened”

Climate expert and critical thinker, Mike Hoskings (often described as New Zealand’s answer to Noam Chomsky), has leapt to the prime minister’s defence.

“It never happened. Fact. Just another deranged left-wing theory. Fact. End of.”

Hoskings has called for a full non-partisan investigation. “The best way to discover the truth is a royal commission run by talk-back radio hosts,” he says. “Only by hunting down and punishing the hacker can we bring closure to these patently false allegations. Fact. End of.”

The Year 3000

In light of political developments this week—now being dubbed ‘exoneration-gate’—the National Party has experienced its biggest-ever monthly surge in opinion polls, with some political commentators predicting that the government will remain in power until 3000AD.

“The public now understands that John Key is in complete control of the Ebola crisis,” says Hoskings. “And they also realize that he’s in touch with ordinary New Zealanders such as babies.”

Pope Francis

Hoskings observes that the prime minister’s popularity has entirely transcended that of an ordinary politician.

“His presence is now verging on papal,” claims Hoskings. “God knows whenever John Key appears on my show I have an overpowering urge to get down on my knees and kiss his ring.”

39

This Week in Parliament: 20 October 2014 - 24th October 2014

Public Address presents our weekly round-up of the important events in parliament.

CABINET ULULATES

There were scenes of “Islamic-style grief” around the cabinet table this week as Prime Minister John Key announced that New Zealand’s terror threat has been raised from ‘Phenomenally Low’ to ‘Stupendously Unlikely’.

Previously imperturbable ministers were reported as “tearing at their beards” and “ululating with fear” on hearing the news that a full-scale ISIS invasion of New Zealand is now a step closer. It is understood that justice minister Amy Adams had to be restrained from amputating one of her own fingers.

Prime Minister Key says that the increased danger level confirms his worst fears. “Many people aren’t aware of the difference between ‘phenomenally’ and ‘stupendously’, but the difference is actually an entire level of terror. That’s how serious it is.”

Uncircumcised

Minister of racing, Nathan Guy, has announced that he personally would rather die than continue living under the threat of a potential ISIS caliphate. The uncircumcised minister says that he expects most New Zealanders will feel the same.

“The National Party believes that voters shouldn’t have to worry about terrorism,” he asserts. “On this basis, I’ve asked my ministry to implement an emergency scheme to provide a tube of cyanide and a sachet of Kool-Aid to every home in the country. Let’s turn those frowns upside-down!”

Unlikely to the Power of Infinity

The Prime Minister has not ruled out the possibility that terror levels could rise further—perhaps as high as ‘Unlikely to the Power of Infinity’ or even ‘Rock Bottom’.

“In that case we will have no option but to place opposition MPs under house arrest for their own protection and implement our secret ISIS defence plan. This is a plan that the GCSB has been working on for several years, but I didn’t bother telling anyone about because I was so relaxed and comfortable with it.”

ED-209

The GCSB plan is centred on the development of a high-tech army of “Enforcement Droids” code-named ED-209.  Prime Minister Key says the plan was initially envisaged to have started on a small scale with “five thousand armed autonomous fighting robots patrolling the streets of Parnell, Remuera, and Epsom to ensure the protection of New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens”.

But the prime minister has now conceded that this modest target is unlikely to be met. “Most GCSB staff are ex-parking wardens or former call-centre managers. In hindsight it was overly ambitious to ask them to develop a robot army.”

Plan ‘J’

However an alternative plan headed by transport minister Simon Bridges is now seen as more promising.

“Simon intends to create a superhuman cyborg warrior by ‘upgrading’ a suitable National Party MP,” says the Prime Minister. ”He—or possibly she—will be surgically fitted with powerful robotic limbs, a machine-pistol, and a mirror-plated visor.”

“We are now searching for a donor candidate among our sitting MPs. Obviously he—or probably she—would ideally have previous experience in the police and justice portfolios.”

The Prime Minister warns that success is not guaranteed. “Simon Bridges is a well-qualified lawyer, but unfortunately has zero experience with surgery or robotics. The brave volunteer MP must contemplate the probability that things will go horribly wrong. We can only praise her courage in the face of almost certain death on the operating table.”

Staunch

“Of course, if Simon Bridges doesn’t come through then we will need to contemplate the next logical step,” says Prime Minister Key.

“This would involve the evacuation of myself and my cabinet minsters to Hawaii, and the relocation of the entire New Zealand population into hiding in the Urewera Ranges. The day-to-day running of New Zealand would then be sub-contracted to a board of ‘staunch’ commissioners chosen from patched members of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs.”

The prime minister cautions that this would be a significant change to the way the country is administered. “But at the end of the day we firmly believe that only by putting New Zealanders under the control of convicted criminals can we defeat ISIS and save our democracy.”

114

Sign this Petition

Like many voters, I feel both depressed and powerless in light of the revelations in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.

At the end of the dayin that oft-spoken phrase of our prime ministerthe book leaves me confronted with an unpleasant choice: either some of our politicians (including the prime minister) are borderline crooks; or they are so deeply incompetent that they’re genuinely unaware of the appalling behaviour of their own staff.

The government’s response to Dirty Politics has been predictably dispiriting:

  • We didn’t do it.
  • Even if we did do it, all the other political parties do it too.
  • Even if all the other political parties don’t do it, the public doesn’t care that we did.

Most depressing of all is that “the public doesn’t care” has become the accepted analysis—certainly by the major newspaper chains. Recent opinion polls showing continuing high levels of support have been interpreted as public endorsement of the government’s behaviour (nothing to see here, move along) rather than a vote of no-confidence in the opposition. Political editors of both newspaper chains have gone so far as to declare the election already over (nothing to see here, and don’t even bother voting).

Speaking for myself, I really do care about Dirty Politics. I don’t actually want to live in a country where government employees covertly enact character assassinations upon academics and civil servants; or where ministers misuse their powers to help friends and trash political opponents; or where prime ministers feel obliged to get into bed with poisonous lowlifespeople who conspire to commit blackmail and contrive to have journalists physically attackedso that they can secretively dish dirt via a gullible media.

But what can ordinary people do about it? You can vote against the government, of course, but that hardly sends an explicit message that Dirty Politics is the reason (and perhaps you think the opposition would be even worse). You could stage a march against dirty politics; although there’s not really much time left to organize one (though I’ll certainly attend if anyone can manage it).

But here’s something small but important that you can do: sign this petition. The organizers (with whom I have no connection at allI just think they have a good idea) are planning a full-page advertisement in the Herald. They are calling for politicians to clean up politics. They are loudly sending a message that the public really does care about Dirty Politics, and the advertisement will be clearly stating how many people have put their name to this message—the more signatories the louder the message.

You can even chip in here to help with the cost of the advertisement.

That's all you have to do.  I’ll end this (non)-party political broadcast on a personal note. My grandfather is currently in hospital, confined to bed on an oxygen supply, and having blood transfusions. But he still cares about Dirty Politics and he’s fully engaged with the aims of this campaign---he has signed up to this petition. If he can still care and take action in his condition then you have absolutely no excuse.

So sign the petition.