Prime Minister John Key has made what he called a “bold announcement” in his annual state of the nation speech, delivered yesterday to a packed conference room of paying guests.
In his speech, delivered yesterday to a packed room of paying donors, he outlined his plans for a dramatic reform of the parliamentary system.
Key said the international studies had shown the performance of the New Zealand parliament had been slipping for some time.
“In 2000, for example,” said Key, “our politicians were ranked fourth in the OECD’s study for achievement in politics, with only Malta, France and Luxembourg ahead of us. Now we’re ranked 23rd behind the likes of Chile, Fiji and the Central African Republic.”
Key went on to tell the packed conference room of special interest groups that it had fallen to his government to lift the achievement of New Zealand politicians. He announced plans for new positions of “expert politician” and “executive Prime Minister.”
“These positions,” he told the packed crowd of lobbyists and policy sponsors, “have been created to try to keep our very best politicians in parliament. Too often, in order to get promotions or to move up the pay scale, our politicians leave parliament for a plum job heading a state-owned enterprise or on the board of a small to medium business. The role of expert politicians will allow for politicians to stay in parliament, doing exactly the same job of passing legislation and working for their electorates, while receiving an extra $78,000 and having more days off.”
Key told the crowd the idea of an Executive Prime Minister came to him while he was golfing with President Obama in Hawaii on his annual $3.5 million holiday.
“Obama’s such a cool dude. He’s a brother, man. He’s my brother, man, you dig? I mean, he just starts talking and I want to listen. He can even do a high-5 without poking someone’s eye out. I could never be like that. Wouldn’t it be cool if we gave him a few million dollars to come over here and run New Zealand for a month. Wouldn’t that be cool. I mean, really cool, man, dude?”
The crowd of tobacco executives, casino operators and ACT leadership contenders applauded profusely at the Prime Minister’s use of the words dude and cool.
Critics have been cautiously optimistic about the Prime Minister’s announcement. “It’s good to hear him using the word cool a bit more,” said Helen Kelly of the CTU, “but he still sounds like a bit of a dick when he talks.”
“Sorry, I missed the question” said Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira, “I was thinking about how to deal with the quarter of a million Kiwi children who live in poverty.”
“I thought he sounded very, very sensual,” said Peter Dunne, the brand-new Associate Minister of Nothing Outside Cabinet.
Key said the policy would be phased in over a series of days and would be up and running by the end of the week.