A transient political scandal which has been dealt with, resolved and thoroughly moved-on-from with no hard feelings at all has somehow been named as the Public Address Word of the Year 2014.
"I honestly can't understand how this has happened," said a flabbergasted Public Address owner Russell Brown. "But #dirtypolitics won this year's reader vote by a country mile. I mean, Jason Ede and Phil de Joux have new jobs, Judith Collins has a newspaper column, David Farrar has returned to his familiar role of providing an internet platform for scary racists and bigots -- and confused, mendacious Taxpayers' Union press releases are being pasted into newspaper stories again.
"Sure, you probably still wouldn't want to touch Carrick Graham with anything not double-wrapped in latex, but when Cameron Slater can walk free with no fear of left-wing death squads, I think we can fairly say the nightmare is over. And really, hasn't the Prime Minister wasted enough time attempting to explain himself?"
Those explanations have themselves drawn tribute from readers of Public Address, New Zealand's most brutally liberal blogsite. Two of John Key's contributions to the lexicon feature in the Word of the Year Top 10: the poignant, wistful "At the end of the day" was number two on the list and the playful, almost poetic "Not as Prime Minister" came in fifth.
"The seventh-ranked word, textual relations, was, of course, attributed to Mr Key," said an increasingly hysterical Brown, "but was actually made up by a journalist. Which I think you'll find is just bloody typical."
#dirtypolitics is, of course, the hashtag version of Dirty Politics, the title of a book by screaming conspiracy theorist Nicky Hager, whose insistence on pursuing his rights has currently brought the entire New Zealand legal system to a halt. The aftermath of the book's publication also gave rise to Whaledump (third) and Rawshark (eighth).
"I can only suppose that a hacker has penetrated the special Google voting software," said a near-comatose Brown. "I've asked Pete George to investigate."
John Key was not the only government minister to capture the imagination of Public Address readers. Steven Joyce's "pretty legal" explanation of National's stance on intellectual property rights placed fourth in the vote and has now been adopted as the rallying cry of disenfranchised EZTV users.
The Top 10 was rounded out by swearwolves, a neologism from the controversial Wellington vampire documentary What We Do in the Shadows and ebola, a word.
"I think all of those associated with the other winners can now fairly describe themselves as 'better than ebola'," said a levitating Brown.
Further controversy was generated when it was announced that notorious Marxist intellectual Giovanni Tiso had won a Christmas hamper by being the first to nominate a version of Dirty Politics for the vote.
"How could Tiso possibly have known?" said a by-now liquefied Brown. "Unless ... Tiso is Rawshark. Yeah, I said it."
Another Public Address reader, James Keating, also won a hamper by having his name drawn from the list of Word of the Year voters.
"Yeah, I got nothing on that," said a vaporous, almost ethereal Brown. "But I can only encourage everyone who didn't win a delicious artisan hamper from Farro Fresh to go and check out the full list of delicious artisan hampers available online from Farro Fresh. And don't muck about, because it's nearly Christmas"
Brown also had a final statement for New Zealanders.
"Thanks for the beer," he said, before turning on his heel, walking into a lamppost and staggering away muttering something that sounded to bystanders like "Peak Cray"."
PUBLIC ADDRESS WORD OF THE YEAR 2014: THE TOP 10
2. "At the end of the day"
4. "Pretty legal"
5. "Not as Prime Minister"
6. Peak Cray
7. Textual relations