Yesterday Bill English made the bold announcement to lift from 65 to 67 years of age. MyThinks thought it might be an idea to whip out a quick timeline because that’s what some media tend to do when they have a few column inches to fill next to a story that’s been going for a wee while.
2008: Freshly minted Prime Minister John Key announces that he will resign before lifting the retirement age.
Dec 5, 2016: John Key resigns as prime minister and anoints Bill English as his chosen one.
Dec 6, 2016: Bill English can’t believe his luck. After failing to crack 25% in an election during his previous time in charge of the National Party, he is now set to lead them, and the country, into the 2017 general election.
Mar 6, 2017: English appears on the television current affairs show The Nation to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
Mar 6, 2017: English appears on the Newshub at 6 to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.23am Mar 7, 2017: English appears on the Radio New Zealand show Morning Report to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.35am, Mar 6, 2017: English appears on TVNZ Breakfast to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.48am, Mar 6, 2017: English appears on Newshub’s AM Show to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
12.32pm, Mar 6, 2017: English holds a press conference which he begins with the words, “Guess what… waiting’s over. We’re lifting the superannuation eligibility age to 67 in the year 2040 – fourteen years after I start receiving it. Thank you and good afternoon.”
12.33pm, Mar 6, 2017: Bill English walks from the stage to attend the eating of his lunch.
CORRECTION: The office of Bill English was kind enough to point out once he is retired, the Prime Minister will not be receiving New Zealand superannuation on its own, but in conjunction with his generously subsidised parliamentary superannuation scheme along with almost free travel for life.
Hello and good afternoon on this fine kiwi afternoon in the afternoon. My name is Nick Smith and I am a minister. I’m not just any minister though. No. I’m Minister for the Environment. That’s a pretty big task when you think about all of the environment out there. There is loads of it and I am the minister.
Anyway… enough about me. Let’s talk about the environment that I’m the minister of.
This week, next to a West Auckland creek, I and my government announced plans to make 90% of our waterways swimmable by the time I’ve been dead for 17 years. Unfortunately there has been some confusion regarding the announcement and I wish to just clarify a few things about it.
Some people are actually suggesting that the government is just paying lipservice to this plan because we are not going to test all of the rivers and waterways around New Zealand. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes it is true that we are not testing some waterways that kiwis might swim in but that doesn’t mean we aren’t serious. We are deadly serious.
I’m not explaining myself very well. If we target 90% of rivers to be swimmable by the year 2040 we have to start measuring. We can measure everything so let’s say we measure 10% of our waterways at the start. 90% of that 10% isn’t very big so we’ve taken the 90% figure and just repeated it a lot because it makes us sound like we’re doing something.
When people say we aren’t aiming for 90% that is just plain false. I myself have said the words ninety and percent hundreds of times in the past week. So it must be true.
Please get in touch if you are still confused by me or anything associated with me.
Nick Smith is minister in the National government with responsibilities for the Environment and Making Overly Grand Announcements that Quickly Fall Apart Under Any Level of Scrutiny.
This week the Prime Minister expressed concern that a lot of young New Zealanders were failing pre-employment drug tests. MyThinks wanted to find out more about the PM’s thinking so we sent our young reporter Beatrice Appleford to interview National’s shiny new leader.
BEATRICE: Good afternoon Prime Minister. Thank you so much for letting me talk to you today.
BILL: It’s my absolute pleasure young lady.
BEATRICE: Yes. So… you said this week employers are telling you young kiwi job seekers are failing drug tests.
BILL: Yes. That is what I said.
BEATRICE: How do you know this.
BILL: Oh… many employers tell me.
BEATRICE: How many?
BILL: Quite many.
BEATRICE: So what sort of things are they telling you?
BILL: Oh… yes… lots of things. Many, many things.
BEATRICE: Yes, but do you have an example of the types of things they are saying to you?
BILL: Yes Oh… I see where you are coming from now… the types of things… Sorry. Sorry about that. Yes. I do.
BEATRICE: What are they?
BILL: What are what?
BEATRICE: The things the employers are telling you about the drug tests.
BILL: Oh… well… for example….I was in Te Kuiti visiting the Sir James Bolder Commemorative Toilets last week and this farmer came up to me and said he was struggling to find someone to hose out his cow shed. He said he’d just fired a young guy who would turn up to work in a Bob Marley t-shirt, eat a quinoa salad for lunch and listen to the reggae music on his Walkman. Clearly he was on drugs.
BEATRICE: How did the guy know? What testing was carried out?
BILL: The guy turned up to work in a Bob Marley t-shirt, ate quinoa salad and listen to the reggae music on his Walkman. Those are some pretty conclusive results.
BEATRICE: No they aren’t. They’re observations. Tests are done in a lab. By scientists.
BILL: Look. If someone listens to Bob Marley on his personal radiogram, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that person is smoking some sweet Mary Janes blunts like those guys from Cypress Hill or whatever. I don’t even know what a bong is, man. Stop cramping my scene.
BEATRICE: But I…
BILL: Thanks for coming in.
BEATRICE: Um… Thank you Prime Minister.
Hard on the heels of the Government’s plan to be pest free by the year 2040, Conservation Minister Nick Smith has announced an even bolder scheme at the start of the election campaign.
Over the weekend, Dr. Smith called media to a field near his Nelson home for one of his trademarked unveiling of great sounding but uncosted or thought-through policies.
“We have set ourselves the ambitious target of having New Zealand completely river free by 2045,” the minister told the waiting throng of junior political reporters.He went on to make the point that his policy would have the added benefit of making all New Zealand rivers swimmable.
“If there’s no water, there’s no e-coli or campylobactor,” said an excited minister, “it’s a complete win-win.”
National have promised to begin draining lowland waterways by the end of the month.
Today was a lucky day for New Zealand with the National government announcing an exciting new water quality standard. MyThinks attended the announcement next to a pungent West Auckland stream.
LACKIE: Please welcome to the podium the Prime Minister of New Zealand… Mr. Bill English.
(A smattering of accidental applause rings out before quickly dying away)
BILL: Thank you… um… Nick Smith’s chap. Yes.. welcome everyone to an exciting day in the history of our young country. Thank you to minister Smith for warming the crowd up with his unique brand of sideways head tilting.
We are here today to talk about water. You can see behind me a lovely bathing hole here in the heart of industrial West Auckland. Just looking at it on this moist afternoon makes me want to do what evety kiwi loves to do and strip down to my undies and jump in for a quick dip. Unfortunately I have a water quality announcement to make so the undies will have to wait.
The National Party are fully aware of New Zealanders love of rivers and waterways. We are also aware of our unique position as the milking teet of the world. That is why we are very pleased to announce a crack down on pollution and a new target of 90% of rivers in New Zealand to be swimmable by the year 2136.
How are we going to achieve this ambitious target? By doubling or even trebling the number of toxins allowed in our rivers. How amazingly simple is that? By just moving the goalposts ever so slightly, then cutting them down and washing them into the river with a torrent of effluent, we in National believe we have cracked the holy grail of water purity.
Thank you all for coming. Right… can we get out of here? My eyes and throat are burning.